- OUR BLOG MOVED - UPDATE YOUR READER
- Launch of PB Chicago!
- Job Openings
- Design and Policy Internship Opportunities
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OUR BLOG MOVED - UPDATE YOUR READER
The Participatory Budgeting Project's blog has moved. You can now find us at http://participatorybudgeting.org/?feed=rss. PLEASE UPDATE YOUR RSS READER!
Launch of PB Chicago!
PBP is excited to announce the official launch of Participatory Budgeting Chicago! Together with the Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois Chicago, we're working four Aldermen and over 20 organizations to pilot a joint PB process in four Chicago wards. After working with Alderman Joe Moore to start PB in the 49th Ward in 2009, this new initiative will begin to scale PB up. Over the next year, residents in the participating wards will directly decide how to spend over $4 million in capital funding.
For more information, see the website and Facebook page of PB Chicago, and read the press release from today's press conference at Chicago City Hall: ALDERMEN & COMMUNITY GROUPS PILOT NEW MODEL OF
DEMOCRATIC BUDGETING FOR CHICAGO
As Maria Hadden, PBP Project Coordinator, said at the press conference, “Chicago is a city of
grassroots organizing and democratic values. The fact that participatory budgeting in the United
States began here fits with the city’s history of leading progressive change. The city of Chicago has
joined over 1,500 other cities around the world in including meaningful, participatory community
engagement in their public budgeting process."
Over the next year, PBP will partner with the City of Vallejo (California) to launch the first city-wide PB process in the US, inviting community members to develop and vote on proposals for how to spend over $3 million from the city’s Measure B sales tax. To gear up for this work, we're hiring a new Community Engagement Coordinator (full-time) and Assistant (part-time), who will both work in Vallejo. Please share the job ads at the above links with your networks!
Design and Policy Internship Opportunities
We're looking for a few good interns - see the add below:
The Participatory Budgeting Project, Inc. (PBP), a non-profit organization based in New York City, is seeking part-time interns for the fall of 2012. Our mission is to empower community members to make informed, democratic, and fair decisions about public spending and revenue. We work with elected officials, government agencies, and community groups in the US and Canada to set up participatory budgeting processes that give local people real power over taxpayer money. Through our work in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Toronto, we have engaged 10,000 people and 500 organizations in deciding how to spend $10 million.
We seek to fill two internship positions: one on design and communication, and one on policy. The internships are ideal for talented individuals eager to further their skills to engage people in their communities and government. The internships are also ideal for people interested in exploring the potential of participatory democracy up close, by being part of a novel initiative.
The two interns will work out of our New York office for at least 15 hours per week, starting in September and ending in December. The design intern will work closely with other staff to develop materials and media that make complex policy issues accessible to diverse audiences. The policy intern will work closely with other staff support project implementation and research.
Responsibilities for the design intern will include:
- design publicity materials and educational materials about participatory budgeting for diverse audiences, including brochures, info sheets, powerpoint presentations, guides, and posters
- contribute to website design
Responsibilities for the policy intern will include:
- prepare content for publicity and educational materials, including brochures, powerpoint presentations, press releases, and website
- attend and assist at PB meetings in communities throughout New York City, including working with City Council Members and staff, community groups and city residents.
- compile media coverage
- maintain and further develop contact database
The ideal candidates will have:
- strong interest in social justice and participatory democracy
- strong communication, writing, and organizational skills
- experience or interest working with non-profit organizations
- strong skills working with Powerpoint, Word, GoogleDocs, Mailchimp, or other relevant software and platforms
- design intern will have design skills and experience, and good working knowledge of Photoshop and/or InDesign
-policy intern will have research experience, in or out of the classroom, on issues related to public policy, municipal finances, local politics, or participatory democracy.
- ability to work independently
- a Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, and some graduate coursework
We strongly encourage applications from people of color, women, and LGBTQ individuals. To apply, send a letter of interest, resume, and work sample (e.g. a brochure, flyer, powerpoint presentation, report, info sheet) to firstname.lastname@example.org by August 20th. The internship is unpaid, though it may lead to paid work depending on the intern’s performance and available resources.
For more information, visit our website at http://www.participatorybudgeting.org and the PBNYC website at http://pbnyc.org.
PBNYC expands to 8 Districts and $10 million
Participatory Budgeting in New York City is expanding! Starting this Fall, 1.3 million New Yorkers in 8 Council Districts will be able to decide how to spend at least $10 million. PBP (The Participatory Budgeting Project) is again serving as the lead technical assistance partner for the initiative, working with the Council Members, dozens of other organizations, and community leaders to make the process run as smoothly as possible. See below for the official press release.
For Immediate Release: July 17, 2012
Contact: Josh Lerner, Executive Director, PBP - 347-554-7357
‘Revolutionary’ Participatory Budgeting Process Doubles in Size in 2nd Year
Participatory budgeting, called “revolutionary civics in action” by the New York Times, will double in size as it enters its second year with even more Council Members, community organizations and everyday New Yorkers taking leadership roles.
Council Members David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn), Daniel Halloran (R-Queens), Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn), and Mark Weprin (D-Queens) announced today that they will be bringing the groundbreaking participatory budgeting process to their districts, joining four Council Members who started participatory budgeting last year: Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), Melissa Mark-Viverito (D-Manhattan), Eric Ulrich (R-Queens) and Jumaane D. Williams (D-Brooklyn).
With four additional Council Members participating, 1.3 million New Yorkers will now be able to directly decide how to spend some of their tax dollars, on projects in their neighborhoods.
Participatory budgeting lets New Yorkers directly decide how to spend millions of capital budgeting funds provided by their Council Member. New York City has the largest participatory budgeting program in America.
Through the first cycle of participatory budgeting, over 2,000 residents came together in 27 public meetings during the fall and winter to discuss local priorities and design specific infrastructure projects, which more than 6,000 New Yorkers ultimately voted on in March 2012.
A selection of projects that received funding through the participatory budgeting process last year included:
- $150,000 for the E-Tech Campus for CAMBA Beacon Program at P.S. 269
- $80,000 for new books and equipment for the Kensington, Brooklyn public library to enhance the branch's use for meetings, storytelling, rehearsals, and small performances promoting Kensington's cultural diversity
- $100,000 for transportation for seniors and a Meals-on-Wheels delivery van in East Harlem
- $147,000 for a water pump, pagers, and an oxygen refill system for volunteer fire departments in the Far Rockaways.
Last year’s effort was covered in everything from local community papers to WNYC to New York Times to PBS and more. This addition of four new City Council districts represents a major expansion of participatory democracy in New York and the United States.
“Residents know what types of projects are most needed in their neighborhood, and participatory budgeting gives them a real voice in determining how their tax dollars are spent. I am proud to take part in an effort that brings the power directly to the taxpayers and brings greater transparency to the budgeting process,” said Councilman David G. Greenfield.
“Participatory budgeting results in fairer spending and gets the public more involved with their government,” said Council Member Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone). “When the citizens are involved, our city will be fairer and will reflect the values and ethics of New Yorkers.”
“After seeing the success of participatory budgeting in neighboring districts, I’m proud to join my colleagues in utilizing the participatory budgeting process this year,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “Participatory budgeting will increase civic engagement, foster dialogue and cooperation amongst the diverse communities I represent, and allow Brooklynites to make real decisions about how to spend their own tax dollars.”
"I am pleased to be sponsoring participatory budgeting, an exciting way for people to be personally involved in how their tax dollars are spent," said Council Member Mark Weprin.
“This year, for the first time, the city budget contains neighborhood projects that were selected by the voters,” said Councilmember Brad Lander. “Thanks to four more City Councilmembers who are willing to try something new, over one million New Yorkers will be deciding how to spend city funds on projects in their communities.”
“Participatory Budgeting is truly democracy in action,” said Councilmember Melissa Mark-Viverito. “It is a very powerful process that engages people who otherwise wouldn’t be engaged. PB is about educating and empowering citizens by including them in solutions and problem-solving at the most grassroots level.”
“Through participatory budgeting, my constituents were able to make real decisions about how their tax dollars were being spent, and I look forward to improving upon the process during the second year,” said Council Member Eric Ulrich.
“I am excited to begin the second year of participatory budgeting here in the 45th District,” said Councilmember Jumaane Williams. “This process was truly a transformational one for my office and our community alike, as we learned a new way to best serve the voice and the needs of the people. More residents than ever are engaged with their government and the spending of their tax dollars, and with more knowledge comes more power to achieve our shared goal, creating a safe place for young people to learn and grow.”
“The first year was a good kick off year and now that we 4 more Districts that joined us,” said Ann Bragg, District 8 Budget Delegate and Community Voices Heard leader. “This is exciting because we are building a city-wide democratic process that is a new concept on the meaning of your vote.”
"Already, the success of participatory budgeting in New York City is inspiring similar processes elsewhere, in cites such as Chicago and Vallejo, California. PBNYC has become an international model for real grassroots democracy," said Josh Lerner, Executive Director of the nonprofit organization The Participatory Budgeting Project, the lead technical assistance partner for PBNYC.
“The participatory budgeting process generated a lot of interest and successfully engaged thousands of New Yorkers in deciding how to allocate their own tax dollars,” said David Nocenti, Executive Director of Union Settlement Association in East Harlem. “I want to congratulate the four members of the City Council who launched this initiative, and the additional Council members who will be expanding the program to their districts this year. I look forward to seeing how this experiment in ‘from the ground up’ decision-making is transformed in the years to come.”
“Open space is one of the areas in which participatory budgeting can make the greatest impact, because the Parks Department doesn't have its own capital budget and is dependent on City Council allocations for improvements,” said Holly Leicht, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks. “The parks projects that rose to the top in last year's public process - from playground enhancements in the South Bronx, Upper Manhattan and the Rockaways to new pedestrian paths and trash cans in Prospect Park - were selected by New Yorkers who use those spaces most and are best positioned to determine what's needed to make them better. New Yorkers for Parks looks forward to seeing communities empowered to invest in their parks and open spaces for another year, and hopefully many more to come.”
"PB was revolutionary in its ability to engage and empower voices that are often marginalized,” said Mel Wymore, Chair of Manhattan Community Board 7. “We saw a new generation of civic leaders emerge from the first year alone. I applaud the pioneering Council Members who brought PB to New York City, and look forward to continuing to expand this important enhancement to the democratic process. Bravo!”
"Participatory budgeting is a potent tool for empowering local residents," said Youjin B. Kim, Policy Analyst at Demos, a national public policy organization. "The people decide how best to improve their communities, and allocate the resources to make it happen. We look forward to seeing rising levels of civic engagement as it expands in years to come."
"PB's true impact lies beyond the projects funded, though those are quite important,” said Celina Su, Associate Professor of Political Science, City University of New York and a PBNYC Steering Committee member. PB's greatest successes lie in a reweaving of our social fabric, a renewed belief that government can work for us and not just elites, and a rewriting of the social contract between government and citizen, and among neighbors."
International Conference in New York
On March 30-31, 2012, we co-hosted the first International Conference on Participatory Budgeting in the US and Canada. Visit the conference website for details!
Research & Evaluation|