PBP News: PB for school districts & federal funds

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Community Control over Federal Funds

Elementary school voters in Oakland PBWhile the US Congress considers a federal budget that threatens to strip resources from communities that need them most, thousands of people across North America are taking budgets into their own hands and building civic power with Participatory Budgeting (PB).

PB gives new opportunities for communities to collaborate. It lifts up the voices of young people, women, people of color, low-income people, and others who are often not prioritized by government. When we give people control over their public money, we learn what they need and we invest in our democracy.

Block grants for community development, resources for the arts, support for parks, and other government funding makes communities stronger. To make sure that public funds are used well and have broad public support, we need to engage more people in deciding how they are spent.

As one step, we just completed the first PB process for federal funds in the US, for Community Development Block Grants in Oakland. Check out our recent blog post to learn more about this groundbreaking effort to empower low-income communities to decide on funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

2017 has brought new challenges, but we’re more dedicated now than ever to working with you to build civic power. As our friend Eric Liu rightly observes in his new book (which highlights PB), you’re more powerful than you think!

First School District PB Is Huge Success

When we asked what you’d like to see us work on, you prioritized PB in Schools two years in a row – and we’ve been busy.

PBP just completed the first PB process in the U.S. to use school district-wide funds, with the Phoenix Union High School District (PUHSD). 3,854 students in five public high schools decided how to spend $26,000.

Watch this amazing short video to see student power in action:

Students voting in Phoenix!

“If there are any schools or districts across the country that are thinking about doing school PB, in our opinion it’s a no-brainer,” said Dr. Chad Gestson, PUHSD Superintendent,“If our job is to create great citizens, how better than to have them act as citizens?”

We’re now working to expand PB in schools in Phoenix and across North America! Building on our work with young people in PBNYC, NYC Council Member Elizabeth Crowley committed $2.1m for schools to decide this year. In Philadelphia at an Aspen Institute event, PBP’s Shari Davis issued students a challenge to launch PB in their schools, which has since been taken up by an incredible group of young people from the Philadelphia High School for Girls.

Young people should not have to wait for the opportunity to lead. By engaging students in PB, schools empower more young leaders to step up and create real democracy.

Our guide to PB in schools is supporting the growth of PB in schools around the world – download it here to take action.

Bringing data to the people

While PB is opening space for new leaders, we’ve been working on tools to put accessible and equitable data in the hands of these leaders.

Data for Delegates Screenshot

We recently launched Data for delegates, a project that was kicked off with funding from our individual donors, and then supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This online resource helps volunteers use data to evaluate project ideas, and to promote equity by developing proposals that address the deepest community needs. It compiles tools with data on education, employment, income, air and water quality, housing and transit, and more.

Celebrate with us!

It takes individuals like you to rebuild our democracy. Volunteer budget delegates, vote site workers, assembly facilitators and more make PB work across North America. When you see the power of communities coming together, you might wonder, “what do we need to make the impact bigger?” The answer is YOU.

This Spring we are hosting two PBParty Benefits to celebrate PB and all those who make it possible. If you are in the NYC area on April 20th or in the Bay Area on June 1st, please join us and help us raise the critical resources needed to build REAL democracy.

You're invited! You're invited!
Support NYC #PBParty Now!  Support Oakland #PBParty Now! 

Bring PB to Netroots Nation!

We have submitted a proposal for an introduction to Participatory Budgeting training at Netroots Nation, an annual conference of online organizers, grassroots activists, and beyond! It is a great opportunity to raise awareness about PB among innovators and organizers from across the country.

And the best part – YOU can help us get there! Here’s how:

  1. Create a login to vote at Netroots Nation — netrootsnation.org/netroots-nation-2017-register-to-vote-for-sessions/
  2. When you receive your password, sign in and vote on trainings
  3. Enter “participatory budgeting” into the search bar– when our training comes up, click to vote
  4. Return every 24 hours and vote again! It only takes a few seconds!

Thanks so much!

Ashley is a PB Amplifier!

If you can’t make it to one of our parties this Spring, consider joining our network of sustaining donors like Ashley–a PB Amplifier. Your voice makes a real difference and when added to the other amplifiers, you’re helping make the promise of democracy realized.

Thank you for your work!

Love and democracy


PBP on the Road


JoshTaiwan.png ShariAspen.png
PBP’s Executive Director, Josh Lerner brings our white paper, Next Generation Democracy, to Taiwan! Shari Davis, Director of Strategic Initiatives, issues a call to change democracy at the Aspen Challenge.

Participatory Budgeting in the News

  • PBP Advisory Board member Celina Su lifts up PB as a strategy for real democracy in Harper’s Magazine‘s Resistors Guide.
  • El Diario reports on how PB is empowering immigrants across New York City, in “Vecinos decidirán en qué gastar $34 millones del presupuesto” (in Spanish)
  • Josh Lerner, Executive Director, and several PBP Advisory Board members and partners published articles on Participatory Budgeting in New York City in the journal New Political Science.
  • Cronkite News AZ PBS’s coverage of Phoenix Union High School District PB process goes from 16:00 – 17:45 in this video; and more coverage of the first PB process with school district funds from 91.5 KJZZ.
  • Melissa Appleton, East Coast Project Manager, visited the set of BK Live to talk about PB in NYC and beyond.

We’re a nonprofit 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 the generous support of individuals, public funding, and our foundation partners:PBP funders Spring 2017

About David Beasley

David is the Director of Communications at PBP. He believes that people are experts in their lives and their communities. Because people know what they need, participatory budgeting should give them the power to make it happen.