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Participatory Budgeting Project

The Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP) is a non-profit organization that helps communities decide how to spend public money, primarily in the US and Canada.

PBP-logoOur mission is to empower community members to make informed, democratic, and fair decisions about public spending and revenue. We pursue this goal by working with governments and organizations to develop participatory budgeting processes, in which local people directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.

We build smart and transparent decision-making processes. We believe that people have invaluable knowledge about their needs, and that political decisions are wiser when they include this local knowledge. But since budgets are complex, citizens also need the right blend of expertise and support to make smart decisions. Drawing on decades of PB experiences, we craft budget processes that weave together local knowledge and technical expertise into better decisions.

We empower individuals and communities. We set up processes that give ordinary people real power over real money – a chance to make decisions, not just be consulted. We build PB from the bottom up, working with community leaders to design the process – rather than imposing a top-down blueprint. We provide the support necessary for local communities to take ownership over public spending.

We develop active citizens and stronger communities. We structure budgeting as a deeply educational experience, enabling people to learn democracy by doing. By creating new spaces for collaboration, we also bring together diverse organizations to work toward the public good. We spark people’s passion for democracy, by making participation engaging, educational, and fun!

We engage those who are usually left out. We recognize that people with more power and money tend to participate more in politics. To level the playing field, we prioritize engaging marginalized communities, such as youth, low-income people, and people of color. We work closely with grassroots groups to create inclusive processes, ensuring that all voices are heard.

We practice what we preach. We run a transparent and democratic organization, engaging our broader network of PB participants and supporters in key budget and policy questions. To make PB smarter and more empowering, we draw on local feedback and expert insights to rigorously evaluate our work.

Resource Link: www.participatorybudgeting.org

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