We are a nonprofit organization that empowers people to decide together how to spend public money, primarily in the US and Canada. We create and support participatory budgeting processes that deepen democracy, build stronger communities, and make public budgets more equitable and effective.
PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING (PB) is a better way to manage public money. It is a democratic process in which community members decide how to spend part of a public budget. PB gives ordinary people real decision-making power over real money.
We have worked with 84 elected officials and 500 community partners to engage 200,000 people in 17 cities to decide how to spend $250,000,000 on more than 440 community projects.
Our approach has been recognized by the White House under President Obama as a model for civic engagement, and we have been awarded Harvard University’s 2015 Innovations in American Government Award and Penn State’s Brown Democracy Medal as the top innovation in advancing democracy around the world.
Our main program areas are:
We help governments, institutions, and organizations to implement participatory budgeting processes and campaigns.
- Advise, design, and implement PB processes
- Advise and support advocacy, organizing, and educational campaigns to launch and expand PB processes
We research and develop new tools and practices to make participatory budgeting and democracy work better.
We bring together policy practitioners and community organizers to help participatory budgeting grow.
- Building and supporting networks of practitioners, organizers, officials and researchers
- Talks, articles and other public education that expands PB networks and interest
In the City of Vallejo, California, PBP coordinated the first city-wide PB process in the US, for $3.2 million in sales tax revenues. PB Vallejo has since completed two additional cycles.
Since 2011, we have served as Technical Assistance Lead for PBNYC, a joint PB process across several City Council Districts. In the 2015-16 cycle, residents in 28 districts are deciding how to spend at least $35 million.
After working with 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore to launch the first PB process in the US, we serve as a lead partner for the multi-ward process PB Chicago, in which residents of eight wards are allocating over $8 million.
We serve as the technical assistance partner for Youth Lead the Change: Participatory Budgeting Boston, the first youth participatory budgeting process in the U.S. The process is in its third cycle, with young people directly deciding how to spend $1 million of the city’s capital budget.