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PBP News: BIG School PB, Conference Recap, Your Turn to Vote


It’s time to elevate young leaders

At the March for Our Lives, Chicago’s Mya Middleton, 16, underscored the power of youth voice: “We are the turn of this century. We are the voice of change. We are here to fix what America is falling short of.”

Just weeks prior, New York’s Jacinta Ojevwe, 17, stood before an international audience at our Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference and said, “We have a democracy that people have to fit around.” Instead, she wants to “Create a democracy that fits around people.”

We’re one quarter into 2018, and we’re ready to elevate young leaders to truly re-shape our democracy together.


Building Participatory Democracy at International Conference

Last month, we hosted an international conference bringing together leaders from 18 countries and 75 cities to build a more participatory democracy. In partnership with the Center for the Future of Arizona, the Jefferson Center, the Katal Center, the Participatory Governance Initiative at Arizona State University, Phoenix Union High School District, and the Policy Jury Group, we hosted 45 timely sessions spanning the roles of creativity and play in democracy, ways to center equity in reshaping democracy, innovations in civic tech, and new approaches to participatory justice and action civics.

Speakers lifted up why participatory budgeting and participatory democracy are so critical now:

“We’re in a moment where people are skeptical of top-down, elite change. We also know that when people most affected by decisions are involved in making them, we get better outcomes. How can we practice that?”
—Annelise Grimm, Code for America

“We need to build community power. Without building power, you can’t change the systems causing the inequity we see.”
—Brian Mimura, California Endowment

“Having something revolutionary like participatory budgeting shows that there’s hope, that being an adult won’t be terrible.”
—Jennifer Abarca, student leader at Phoenix Union High School District

“Perfecting democracy is a job that will

never be finished.” —José Manuel Ribeiro, Mayor of Valongo, Portugal

Read more highlights on our blog.

Expanding PB in Schools in New York and Phoenix

We’re creating new opportunities for civic education and action through PB in schools, making space for the next generation of leaders. In Phoenix, we supported the Phoenix Union High School District in engaging 10,242 students to vote on how to spend $55,000 of the school district budget.

Through this process, the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office registered 786 students to vote, creating a pathway between participation in PB and voting in other elections.

In New York, we’re working with the NYC Mayor’s Office and the State  Department of Education to launch PB in roughly 600 schools across the city and state, thanks to commitments from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and the State Education Department.

Read more about these big new commitments to youth engagement and empowerment on our blog.

PB for Poverty Reduction in Rochester

We are supporting the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative (RMAPI), in Rochester NY, in launching a groundbreaking PB process this Spring—the first specifically with anti-poverty funds! The Initiative, housed under the United Way of Greater Rochester, is funded through the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, a $25 million initiative to help 16 communities across New York State develop locally-driven strategies to reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity for all New Yorkers. RMAPI will be using a portion of their funding to strengthen community engagement and identify community priorities.

Vote to Decide How to Spend Our Budget

At PBP, we believe in PB so much that we use it to decide how to spend part of your donations through own PB process called PB2. PB2 is PB for PB, where our supporters decide how to spend part of their donation to make PB bigger and better. This year, our PB2 ballot includes 9 projects that take PB to the next level across North America. Will you help us decide how to strengthen PB?

Check out the ballot below, then donate and vote.


New Co-Executive Director and Finance & Operations Manager

Over nearly a decade, we’ve shown that Participatory Budgeting (PB) works.

Now it’s time to make PB a core part of government. To make that possible, our organization is changing. We’re investing more in making PB better and bigger to transform our democracy, and we’ve expanded our leadership to include Shari Davis as our Co-Executive Director.


We also welcomed our new Finance & Operations Manager Kristina Banks, who joins our team after managing finances at an environmentally focused nonprofit in Washington, DC.



PBP on the Road

Beyond our conference, our team has been on the move, and is gearing up for more talks and travel.

Next up, our team is speaking in New York, Rochester, Merced, Santa Ana, Sweden, DC, and more for PB trainings, vote weeks, and convenings. Follow-us on social media for live updates on each!

In the News


We can’t wait to power into the rest of 2018 with you.

PBP Team

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