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Participatory Budget Celebrates a Decade of Impact

ICYMI NCDDer, the Participatory Budget Project, recently celebrated over a decade of service and earlier this year, Shari Davis, assumed the role as their new executive director! The release of their 2019 Impact Report is now available and provides a full view of their initiatives. Highlights of their incredible journey, in addition to processes and projects underway this current year, can be found in the article below or in the original post here.

Our Impact: Real Money, Real Power

2019 marked a monumental year for PBP. Our organization turned 10 years old, helped launch or continue over 170 PB processes, and successfully transitioned our leadership to a national Black-led organization committed to equity.

As we grow our work to reimagine democracy and dismantle oppressive systems, we know the road ahead will not be easy. It will require us to evaluate and re-evaluate how we show up in our work to advance equity across the country. It will require us to reach out and ask for the support, input, and creativity we need. And it will require us to challenge ourselves and each other to imagine beyond what we have seen before – and reach for what is possible.

Participatory budgeting (PB) in North America is in a vastly different place than it was just one decade ago. To acknowledge the movement around PB and key issues like climate resilience and equity, we built new tools to better address these challenges.

In the last year alone, we’ve…

  • Launched PBcan.org, an interactive website to help imagine how PB can address concerns including affordable housing, transportation, climate resilience, and equity.
  • Disseminated new digital PB tools to 150 policymakers, community leaders, and funders involved in developing our Democracy Beyond Elections policy platform that centers equity and real community power.
  • Expanded or launched 173 PB processes that allocated over $55 million to community-driven solutions in North America.
  • Empowered young leaders across the country to shape their reality by launching PB in schools in over a dozen cities and towns, including partnering with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to engage students at two Brooklyn high school campuses in deciding how to spend over $1 million and new policies to make their schools safer and more supportive. That’s 10x more funding than in any other school’s PB process!
  • Transitioned our organizational leadership. In April 2020, Shari Davis stepped into a transformative leadership role as our Executive Director. We have undertaken an intentional transition process as an organization to make sure the newest chapter of PBP is resilient, visionary, and ready for what this moment demands.

As we plan for the next iteration of our work, building community control over public budgets has never felt more urgent. A global pandemic coupled with a nationwide movement demanding justice for Black lives has shed a new light on a real reality: our most impacted communities are under-resourced and overpoliced. People across the country are leaning into conversations and demands in ways that will have lasting implications for decades to come.

This moment marks a turning point for our country and PBP to recommit to who and what we stand for. We commit to demanding real community power over the budgets, policies, and decisions that impact their lives.

Reimagining what’s possible is one important step to moving to real community control – and it won’t be easy. It will require all of us and we’d like to invite you to play a role by making a donation to our work.

We thank our hardworking staff, board members, donors, and supporters like you who have consistently shown up for us over the years.

You can find the original version of this article on the PBP site at www.participatorybudgeting.org/annual-report-2019/.

Isabella Guzman
Isabella Guzman is ecstatic to join the NCDD team as Blog and Social Media Curator. She studied International Relations and French Language and Literature at George Mason University. Her passions for expression, communication and connection led her to become a facilitator, translator and yoga teacher. She wants to keep learning, growing, supporting organizations and people who do the important work of Dialogue and Deliberation.

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