Celebrating 10 years of transforming democracy with you.
For the past decade, the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) has been building a movement to transform our democracy. We have expanded and deepened democratic participation in government, especially by communities with the greatest needs.
To celebrate, we’re hosting a 10th Anniversary Benefit at Prime Produce in New York City on Thursday, May 23, 2019. If you’re in NYC, buy your ticket to join us!
We’re also welcoming celebrations from a distance - support the next 10 years of community-led democracy by becoming a PB Amplifier.
Students decide school spending and policies
This spring, we worked with Brooklyn schools to raise the bar for student voice. At two high school campuses, we engaged students in deciding how to spend over one million dollars and new policies to make their schools safer and more supportive. Through this “participatory justice” pilot program, students redefined what safety means for them. Students decided 10 times more funding than in any other school PB process, and we extended PB to also include participatory policy-making.
Read more on our blog.
Rochester residents decide how to reduce poverty using PB
Rochester PB’s recent vote produced five winning projects, all rooted in relieving poverty and focused on equity. In order to make it to the ballot, projects had to explicitly benefit people experiencing poverty or address poverty in some way.
Rochester PB was part of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative - an initiative housed under the United Way. Funds for PB came from the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, a statewide program supported by federal Community Services Block Grant dollars.
School districts inspire civic engagement in school and beyond
In Phoenix, we partnered with the Center for the Future of Arizona to triple the size of PB in the Phoenix Union High School District. This year, 12,344 students voted on how to spend school district-wide funds. And, after casting their PB ballots, 1,870 students registered to vote in county elections!
In partnership with the Center for the Future of Arizona, we also expanded PB to Chandler Unified School District, where 3,735 middle and high school students voted to fund campus improvement projects through PB, and 465 students registered to vote.
In New York City we supported the Department of Education in its pilot year of PB in public high schools, as part of the Mayor’s Civics ForAll initiative. We helped train 48 schools, preparing them to engage students in deciding how to spend $2,000 at each school.
In New York State, we supported and trained the first cohort of seven schools from four districts across the State who have all launched PB this semester. These schools are using PB to fulfil new parent and student engagement requirements for struggling schools as part of New York’s Every Student Succeeds Act plan.
New data-driven map shows spread of participation
As we celebrate the first 30 years of PB growing around the world, we’re thrilled to introduce a new tool to help us look back as we plan for the next 30+ years of PB. And so we’re introducing a map of PB across the U.S. and Canada. Each dot on the map represents a place where democracy has been deepened by bringing people together to decide together how to invest public resources in their community.
Explore the map on our blog!
NYC’s first Civic Engagement Commissioners are announced
After years advocating for citywide PB, voters made our PB dreams a reality when the ballot measure to create a Civic Engagement Commission charged with running citywide PB in NYC won by a landslide vote. The Mayor, Borough Presidents, and Council Speaker just announced the commissioners, including six who were appointed through the City’s first ever open application process! We can’t wait to see the Civic Engagement Commission strengthen real democracy in NYC beyond elections!
In the News
- Who wants to pay taxes? Vox | Turns out a lot of people do, at least when they have direct input on how governments spend their money
- What happens when students are given a say in school budgets?, The Hechinger Report | NYC becomes the second school district to introduce students to PB, allowing them to divvy up a slice of their school’s money
- Participatory Budgeting Expands To Brooklyn Students, Spectrum News 1 NY | NY1 covers what happens when students spend big money and set school policy
- It's Civics Week for New York City Students, WNYC | Students at all grade levels throughout NYC got an extra dose of civics education, as the de Blasio Administration rolled out its first Civics Week
Our work is only possible due to the generous support of individuals, public funding, and our foundation partners: