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PBP News: Big Harvard Award, 15 Metrics to Evaluate PB, Engaging Students and Ex-Prisoners, 6 Processes Launch


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1. PBNYC wins Harvard award

Team-work and dedication pays off. PBNYC was honored with the Roy and Lila Ash Innovation Award for Public Engagement in Government from Harvard University!

PBNYC was selected for demonstrating how municipal governments can solve some of our most intractable social and political problems, by engaging residents in real decision-making about real money. Beginning with 4 City Council members in 2011, PBNYC now engages 50,000 people annually in deciding how to spend over $30 million.

Thank you and congratulations to all the leaders – including City Council staff, Community Voices Heard, and other organizers – and residents who made PBNYC a model for real community power.

Read more about the award and our plans on our blog.

2. A shared language to evaluate PB processes

There are many measures of success in PB but with the release of 15 key metrics for PB evaluation and a toolkit from our friends at Public Agenda now researchers will now have a shared language and instruments to compare PB across North America.

The North American PB Research Board helped develop these tools to support local evaluators and to learn about the ways that PB impacts communities. The metrics will also inform practitioners seeking to make PB processes more effective.

Visit Public Agenda’s website to download the instruments and introduction to PB evaluation.

3. PB processes start in 6 cities

PB in the U.S. started in Chicago and this year we’re excited to see new and long standing Alderman step up their commitment to community power. This year, 5 new ward processes join to create a total of 8 wards and at least $8 million for PB across Chicago.

Chicago expansion is being supported by our incredible partners at the Great Cities Institute, the McCormick Foundation and Crown Family Philanthropies.


Our support for advocacy in Hartford quickly led to the first PB process in a state capitol! We’re working with civic nonprofits and government to roll out a $1.25 million PB process that includes new deeper approaches for community deliberation.


PBNYC continues to grow with 27 council members bringing at least $1 million to processes in their community, for a total of $35 million.


After years of community organizing and fundraising, PB in Greensboro is ready to go. Our two new amazing team members are busy planning the process with the steering committee, and PB in the south is finally here!


We’re supporting our partners Clean Air to launch a pilot process in one district, starting this fall.

2 council districts are starting their second year of PB after successful pilots last year!

4. Teaching democracy through participatory budgeting

East Harlem Social Studies teacher Steven Serling knows that learning by doing is a great opportunity to make civics matter for his students.

Working closely with City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito to inspire a new generation of civic leaders, Steven’s class participated in PB in the 8th district!

For this great work, he has been nominated for the Daily News Hometown Heroes in Education award for his active role in teaching his students to engage with their local communities and government.

Elsewhere students in Arizona and San Jose have done more than learn about budgeting, they’ve made great decisions about how to allocate resources through participatory budgeting processes for their school budgets and a Met High School from Sacramento is the newest school to give PB a try!

Learn more on our blog and spread the word by sharing our Participatory Budgeting in Schools information sheet.

“Ex-Prisoners Tell NYC How to Spend Money”

PB gives voice and power to communities that are often marginalized from decision-making. Read this inspiring story about how PBNYC  is helping reintegrate ex-prisoners into society.

Upcoming Events:

Join our Data and Technology Manager, Aseem Mulji for his session at the Code for America Summit!
Sept. 30- Oct 2nd
Oakland Marriott City Center

With love and democracy,

Participatory Budgeting Project

We’re a non-profit organization that empowers people to decide together how to spend public money.

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About PB - Video
Want to introduce your friends to PB? Start here by watching the 4-minute, award-winning video “Real Money, Real Power” to learn about how PB works to empower local residents!

Our work is only possible due to generous support of individuals, public funding, and our foundation partners:


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PBP helps communities decide how to improve using public money.

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