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Who we are
Board of Directors|
Josh Lerner, Executive Director - New York
Josh completed a PhD in Politics at the New School for Social Research and a Masters in Planning from the University of Toronto. In addition to teaching at Fordham University and The New School, he has worked as a popular educator with the Brooklyn Center for the Urban Environment and as a community development adviser on UNDP projects in Slovakia. He first became involved in PB in 2003, when he wrote a PB guide for the City of Toronto. Since then, he has researched and worked with participatory budgeting processes in the US, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Spain, and the UK. He has advised diverse organizations and institutions on PB, ranging from the Right to the City Alliance to Toronto Community Housing to the Municipality of Rosario (Argentina). He has published in venues such as The Christian Science Monitor, The National Civic Review, The Good Society, YES! Magazine, Shelterforce, and the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management.
Pam Jennings, Project Coordinator - New York
Pam coordinates PBP's work in Vallejo. She holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from the University of Rhode Island, where she began her study of PB in 2009. During that time, she served on a research team at Brown University that traced the trajectory of PB around the world. She has experience as a community organizer, a Spanish teacher, and as a translator in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She started working with PBP as an Associate in 2011, and she has served as a facilitator and organizer with the PB District Committee in New York’s 39th Council District, where she lives.
Donata Secondo, Project Coordinator - New York
Donata coordinates PBP's work in New York City. She is a graduate in Development Studies and Latin American Studies of Brown University. Her past professional experience includes work with the Watson Institute for International Studies as well CENDA, a leading Chilean political think tank, and CEDEM, a women’s studies research institute. She has been researching the diffusion of participatory budgeting and its impact on social justice in practicing communities for several years.
Maria Hadden, Project Coordinator - Chicago
Maria coordinates PBP's work in Chicago. She is a resident of Chicago's 49th Ward, and she first became involved in PB as a volunteer community representative during the ward's first PB cycle in 2009. She now serves as a member of the 49th Ward Participatory Budgeting Leadership Committee. She is an AmeriCorps*VISTA alum and completed her Master's degree at DePaul University's School of Public Service.
Ginny Browne, Community Engagement Coordinator - Vallejo, California
Ginny coordinates community engagement in the Vallejo PB process. She completed her Masters in Urban and Regional Planning at UCLA, where she did extensive research on participatory budgeting in North America. Prior to joining PBP, Ginny worked as a community organizer with the grassroots New York organization Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), a researcher with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in the Bay Area, and an AmericorpsVISTA associate with Fifth Avenue Committee, a community development corporation in Brooklyn. She has collaborated with a wide range of agencies and organizations, from LA's Strategic Actions for a Just Economy to the Federal Transportation Administration, to engage local communities on issues such as workforce development, affordable housing preservation, and transportation equity. Ginny also has a background in community media and has reported news for National Public Radio and the Pacifica Network.
Ramon Quintero, Community Engagement Assistant - Vallejo, California
Ramon works on community engagement for the Vallejo PB process. He holds a BA in Geography & Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. His past professional experience includes work with the Rio Hondo Community College District Board of Trustees in the City of Whittier where he focused on the Measure A Bond construction program, as well as for the 49th Congressional District office where he worked on community engagement and citizenship workshops. He has also been researching urban construction and its impact on social change for several years.
Gianpaolo Baiocchi - Providence
Gianpaolo is Associate Professor of Sociology and International Studies at Brown University. He has been involved with PB since 1997, when he began his dissertation research on the topic in Porto Alegre. He has written widely on participatory democracy and participatory budgeting, in publications ranging from the American Sociological Review to the Boston Review and Labor Notes. His comparative research on multiple cities with PB is the topic of his book Making Spaces for Civil Society (with P. Heller and M.K. Silva, 2008). His book on Porto Alegre's PB (Militants and Citizens, 2005) has been taken up widely in planning and activist circles.
Joanna Duarte Laudon - Toronto
Joanna is a graduate of the University of Toronto who completed her Master's degree at York University in urban planning. She has researched and facilitated public participation programs in Venezuela and her hometown of Toronto. In 2009 and 2010 she co-facilitated two participatory evaluations of Toronto Community Housing's PB process, working with a team of public housing tenants and staff to research and improve the process. Joanna has also worked with community organizations such as Barrio Nuevo, Manifesto Community Projects, and the Hispanic Development Council.
Daniel Schugurensky - Tempe, Arizona
Daniel is a professor in the School of Social Transformation and in the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University. He is particularly interested in the connections between participatory democracy, citizenship education and community engagement. Daniel has helped organize three international conferences on citizenship learning and participatory democracy (Toronto 2003, Toronto 2008, Rosario 2010). He has conducted research on Participatory Budgeting in Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Canada, paying special attention to the educational dimension of participatory budgeting. He co-edited the book “Learning citizenship by practicing democracy: International initiatives and perspectives” (Cambridge Scholarly Press, 2010). Other recent publications include “The Tango of Citizenship Learning and Participatory Democracy”, “'This is our school of citizenship': Informal learning in local democracy”, “'I took a lot of stuff for granted': Participatory budgeting and the Neighbourhood Support Coalition" (with Elizabeth Pinnington), “Who Learns What in Participatory Democracy? Participatory Budgeting in Rosario, Argentina” (with Josh Lerner), and “Participatory Budgeting in North America: The Case of Guelph, Canada” (with Elizabeth Pinnington and Josh Lerner).
Yves Cabbanes - London
Yves is Professor and Chair of Development Planning at the Development Planning Unit, University College London. From 2004 to 2006, he was a lecturer in Urban Planning at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. From 1997 to 2003, he was the Regional Coordinator of the UN Habitat/UNDP Urban Management Program for Latin America and the Caribbean. Prior to joining the UMP, he worked for ten years in Northeast Brazil, for various NGOs, grassroots groups, and local governments on low-income housing, income-generating activities, and slum improvement in very poor communities. He has coordinated numerous research and development programs with Asian, Latin American, African and Arab partners on urban and municipal governance issues such as participatory planning and budgeting, municipal poverty reduction, social inclusion innovative practices, revitalization of urban centres, community based micro finance, urban agriculture, low income housing, and appropriate technologies for local development. He has acted as Chair for the UN Advisory Group on Forced Evictions (2004 -2010) and as a senior advisor and member of various development initiatives and networks, such as the International Alliance of Inhabitants and the International RUAF Foundation (Resource Centres for Urban Agriculture and Food Security).
Karen Dolan - Washington DC
Karen is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, where she has worked since 1996. She holds an M.A. With Highest Distinction in Philosophy and Social Policy from the American University in Washington DC. At IPS she directs the Cities for Progress and Cities for Peace projects, which link community-led organizations with policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels. Her work focuses on local democracy/empowerment, peace, anti-poverty and economic equality. She helped pilot participatory budgeting in Chicago's 49th Ward, the first municipal participatory budgeting process in the US. She is currently collaborating with NY-Times Best-Selling Author Barbara Ehrenreich to tell the stories of the millions of Americans affected by the Great Recession. Karen regularly appears in print and broadcast media, and some of her publications include: Battered By Storm: How The Safety Net Is Failing Americans and How to Fix It; Our Communities are Not for Sale; Paying the Price: The Mounting Costs of War in Iraq, Unleash Democracy in Mandate for Change, and Foreign Policy Goes Local. She also serves on the boards of The Backbone Campaign, The Liberty Tree Foundation, and the Jobs With Justice Worker Rights Board.
Jez Hall - Lancaster, UK
Jez is a long term associate of the UK based PB Unit and has worked on promoting Participatory Budgeting (PB) in England, Scotland and Wales since August 2000. As well as his work establishing the PB Unit, supporting the early English pilots and advising local authorities, he is now focusing on a new project of PB with children and young people as a way to develop citizenship skills and create new opportunities for personal empowerment. Jez was previously employed by Lancaster University Management School as a social enterprise business analyst. Between 2005 and 2007 he was a non-executive director of Central Manchester Primary Care Trust, with oversight of community engagement and children services. Jez also spent 10 years working for a community architecture charity advising community groups on project development, community organizing and community led regeneration. In 2009 he established Shared Future CIC, a not for profit company specializing in supporting Social Enterprise.
Rachel Laforest - New York
Rachel has been the Executive Director of the Right to the City Alliance since May 2011. She joined the Alliance after eight years working with progressive labor, directing the Organizing and Public Policy departments of the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100 and Actors Equity Association (AEA). Rachel organized and led multiple mobilizations of thousands of TWU members to City Hall and the state government; conducted extensive research and designed education and training in public policy for union members and officers; and was a lead coordinator for TWU during the 2005 New York City transit strike, after which the union leadership was jailed. Prior to her career with TWU and AEA, Rachel served as Lead Organizer/Co-Campaign Director for Jobs with Justice/ New York, building community-labor solidarity and joint action and co-coordinating the campaign that won an increase of $2 per hour in the minimum wage for New York State. Rachel holds a BA from Hunter College/CUNY in Political Science (Black & Puerto Rican Studies) and Education. She has served on the Steering Committee for Participatory Budgeting in New York City.
Michael Menser (Chair) - New York
Menser is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Brooklyn College and Earth and Environmental Science and Environmental Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center, and he is the Chair of the Board of The Participatory Budgeting Project. His current research focuses on participatory democracy, urban environmentalism, food sovereignty, and the “solidarity economy.” Menser is an active member of the PSC-CUNY faculty union and has worked with a range of labor, neighborhood and direct action groups including the NYC and World Social Forum, US Solidarity Economy Network, Brooklyn Food Coalition and the Participatory Budgeting 45th District Committee in NYC.
Joe Moore - Chicago
Alderman Joe Moore is a member of Chicago City Council. Since 1991 he has represented the city's 49th Ward, which includes the Rogers Park neighborhood. He has been named the "Most Valuable Local Official" in the country by The Nation magazine, in recognition for his successful sponsorship of a resolution against the war in Iraq, measures requiring living wages for employees of big box retail stores, and environmental restrictions on Chicago's coal-fired power plants. Starting in 2009, he launched the first participatory budgeting process in the US, inviting residents of his ward to directly decide how to spend his $1.3 million discretionary budget.
Evelyn Murialdo - Toronto
Evelyn is a senior leader/manager experienced at designing and directing organizational change, community development, strategic participatory planning, fundraising and community programming for public sector organizations and citizen groups. As the Director of the Community Health Unit at Toronto Community Housing, Evelyn led the housing authority's Participatory Budgeting and tenant engagement process. As an adult educator, she has delivered specialized, high level facilitation in anti-racism, anti-oppression, human rights, conflict resolution and social inclusion.
Karin Nangreave (Treasurer) - Chicago
Karin is a certified public accountant (CPA) licensed in the state of Illinois, who received her Master's of Science in Accounting from University of Illinois-Chicago. She has been involved with participatory budgeting in Chicago's 49th Ward in 2010-11 as a community representative and in 2011-12 as a member of the leadership committee and finance committee chair. Karin is currently employed as the Associate Fiscal Director of the Alternative Schools Network, a Chicago-based not-for-profit, and has worked as an independent auditor specializing in the not-for-profit industry.
Elizabeth Pinnington - Guelph, Ontario
Elizabeth is completing a PhD in governance and accountability at the University of Toronto. She works as an international educator and facilitator. In addition to teaching at the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto, Elizabeth facilitates innovative participatory spaces where diverse actors dialogue about complex issues. Elizabeth has recently worked with NGOs in Columbia, farmer’s unions in Mozambique, and national ministries in Peru and Bolivia. Elizabeth has facilitated participatory budgeting in Guelph, Canada for five years. She has published about Canadian experiences of PB in books by Kumarian Press and Cambridge Scholars Press, as well as the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management.
Helen Rosenthal - New York
Helen is a Candidate for the New York City Council in 2013 (Manhattan, District 6). She served as Budget Delegate and Co-Chair of the Education Committee for Participatory Budgeting in NYC, in Council District 8. Helen worked in the NYC Mayor’s Budget office during the Koch, Dinkins and Giuliani Administrations, helping to oversee over six billion dollars of the health care agency budgets. Helen’s community experience includes serving on her local Community Board since 2000, where she initiated and Chaired the Strategy and Budget Committee for many years and was elected Chair of the Board twice. She is currently Board Chair of ParentJobNet, a community not-for-profit that provides job training and counseling services for public school parents looking for work. Helen holds a BA in Public Policy from Michigan State University and graduated with Highest Distinction from the Yale School of Medicine with a Masters in Public Health.
Simone Samuel - Toronto
Simone is a tenant leader at Toronto Community Housing, Canada's largest social housing provider, and an active volunteer in her community. She has chaired several tenant committees and served as a researcher in the evaluation of the housing authority's participatory budgeting process. She is a licensed paralegal and a student at Athabasca University in Alberta working towards her BPA in Governance, Law & Management.
Meg Wade (Secretary) - Los Angeles
Meg has done a variety of work to create democratic political and economic structures at the local level. She participated in the first year of participatory budgeting in Chicago's 49th Ward as a community representative, focusing on proposals for pedestrian, biking, and public transit infrastructure. A former community organizer with Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County, she has also worked as a research associate for Citizens for Election Integrity Minnesota on issues related to recount and audit election law, and served on the board of organizations such as Local First Chicago. Meg currently lives in Los Angeles, where she is a bookseller at Skylight Books.
Erik Olin Wright - Madison, Wisconsin
Erik is Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. His academic work has focused on social stratification, class relations, and egalitarian social, economic, and political systems. Since 1992 he has directed The Real Utopias Project, which explores a wide range of proposals and models for radical social change. His books include Deepening Democracy: Institutional Innovations in Empowered Participatory Governance (with Archon Fung, Verso, 2003); Envisioning Real Utopias (Verso, 2010); American Society: How It Really Works (with Joel Rogers, W.W. Norton, 2010).
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|