SEPT 2014 Newsletter: New Faces, New Projects, #PBConf, PB Talks in the Southwest

Participatory budgeting doubles in size in New York City

New York City Council made their announcement about expanding PB in July. Image Source: PBNYC

This summer, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced that participatory budgeting is expanding to 23 city districts, empowering residents to designate over $25 million dollars to locally developed projects. PBP has been busy training district staff, facilitators, and volunteers to scale up this model PB process – the largest in the US. Public assemblies are already starting around the city. See if your district is participating here, and join us at an assembly to learn more and get involved!

New Faces at PBP


Interest in PB has been exploding in recent years, and PBP is growing rapidly to turn this political opening into a powerful movement to transform democracy. This fall we are adding six new staff thanks to generous support from individual donors and foundations, especially a new grant from the Democracy Fund. Please welcome on board:

  • Jennifer Godzeno,  Deputy Director (New York)
    Jennifer is responsible for the strategic development and management of PBP’s programs, including our technical assistance for local PB processes and our work to build the national and international infrastructure necessary to expand and deepen PB.

  • David Beasley, Communications Director (New York)
    David is responsible for the strategic development and management of PBP’s communications, including our communications support for local PB processes and our broader efforts to build powerful messaging that enables PB to grow dramatically.

  • Isabel Luciano, Program Assistant (New York)
    Isabel supports our East Coast projects and other programmatic work.

  • Solaire Spellen, Program Assistant (Oakland)
    Solaire supports our West Coast projects, operations at our Oakland office, and other programmatic work.

  • Tracy Anderson, Movement Building Associate, part-time (Oakland)
    Tracy supports our individual giving and volunteer engagement work, to help the PB movement grow.

  • Jessica Medina, Organizer, part-time (Long Beach, CA)
    Jessica supports community outreach and organizing for PB in Long Beach.

Read more about our new staff here, and apply for a spring internship or volunteer position to join our team!

3rd International Conference on Participatory Budgeting

PB Conference

On September 25-27, over 200 organizers, officials, planners, and researchers will be convening at our PB Conference in California. Speakers from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Senegal, Australia, Canada, and across the United States will share a wide breadth of research and experience, and engage participants in workshops and discussion.   

If you’re planning to join us, make sure to register by Friday to reserve your spot – space is limited! If you can’t join us in Oakland and Vallejo, join the conversation on Twitter using #PBConf and by following @PBProject. Or make a donation to sponsor a low-income or youth participant, to help make the conference more accessible!

 For information about the schedule and more, visit

Charting a New Path for PB in Buffalo

PB Committee in Buffalo after a workshop. Image Source: Clean Air Coalition WNY

PBP is supporting the Buffalo Common Council and the Clean Air Coalition of WNY in piloting a new approach for starting PB. This July, Buffalo’s Common Council voted unanimously to establish a PB Committee, tasked with developing a proposal for implementing PB. After years of building support for PB with local community groups and officials, we visited Buffalo this month to launch the new PB Committee. Already, the committee has identified 24 potential pots of money for PB. We’ll continue supporting the committee as it develops its report for Council, due by March 2015. 

Upcoming Events

Talks and Trainings by PBP Staff:

Let us know if you want us to come to your city!

Get Involved with PBP and help the movement that is making an impact on communities around the world!

1. Spread the Word
We’re tweeting! Follow us @PBProject!
Like us and get access to news and resources.

2. Donate
Invest in participatory democracy by making a tax-deductible donation.

3. Volunteer
Can you contribute a few hours a month to help PB grow? Do you have experience with outreach, facilitation, fundraising, communications, or design? Sign up to volunteer.

4. Organize
Want to start a PB process in your city, school or neighborhood? Get started here.

Featured Book

Executive Director, Josh Lerner, recently published Making Democracy Fun, on MIT Press. The book explores how good game design can animate community meetings and democratic processes, through competition, collaboration, clear rules, engaging sounds and visuals, and other game mechanics. He writes from over a decade of practice and research, to show how local governments and organizations can make democracy work by making it fun.

We Want to Hear from You!

Do you have questions about PB? What do you want to know? Contact us and let us hear your ideas!

PBP gear

PBP T-Shirts, Postcards, Magnets, and Stickers!
Check out our new postcards, and send us an email to order PBP t-shirts, stickers, or magnets!