What is your vision of democracy? Your answer is probably far removed from what we’ve experienced in 2017, which feels like democracy turned upside-down.
Most of us are infuriated with our political process, and angry that our voices aren’t being heard. And yet, we only look for solutions through the electoral process, thinking that if we elect someone new, everything will change, or “become great again.”
Organizing to elect and influence officials is essential, but it is not enough to fix our broken democracy. What happens when we instead seek solutions in we the people? When we invite people to actually govern, to help make the decisions that affect their lives?
The Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) creates and supports participatory budgeting (PB) processes that deepen democracy, build stronger and more inclusive communities, and make public budgets more equitable and effective. For the past eight years, we have been the lead organization growing PB across North America. We have helped to support PB processes in more than 20 cities, distribute over $240 million to much-needed community projects, and engage more than 300,000 people.
On Giving Tuesday, November 28th, an international day of giving, PBP is launching our “Democracy Made by You” Campaign. Our goal is to raise $30,000 to grow PB processes, create new resources, and provide scholarships for our Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference in Phoenix, AZ in March 2018. We invite you to become a PBP supporter this #GivingTuesday to help us to define what a real democracy looks and feels like.
Here is how PBP is making history in 2017:
The Phoenix Union High School District in Arizona became the first school district in the U.S. to do PB in their schools with district-wide funds. Students voted to fund music programs and a study lounge. We also completed the first PB process for federal funds in the US for Community Development Block Grants in Oakland, CA. More than 1,200 people of all ages, speaking four different languages, came together to decide how to spend $784,678 to benefit low-income residents.
This is what Democracy Made by YOU looks and feels like: Empowered Residents and Engaged and Connected Communities.
PBP created new resources to make PB bigger and better in 2017.
We launched Data for Delegates, a tool that promotes equity by developing PB proposals that address the deepest community needs. This project was seeded with funding from individual donors like YOU. We also created a PB in Schools Video that shows you how PB works for school budgets.
This #GivingTuesday, please become a PBP supporter with a gift of any amount to help us build on our shared vision of what a real democracy looks and feels like.
In 2018, your gift will help us bring young people to our upcoming Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference in March 2018. It will help us expand PB in schools, launch more PB processes across North America, and create new resources like Data for Delegates and PB in Schools Video.
What is your vision of democracy for 2018?
If it involves building more engaged and connected communities and empowered residents, please become a PBP supporter this #GivingTuesday to help us continue to build on our shared vision of a real democracy.
PS. We are a finalist in an opportunity called the Spark Prize. If we raise $5,000 on November 28th, we will receive a $5,000 match from the Brooklyn Community Foundation. Donate today and double your impact on Nov. 28th!