Participatory Budgeting

Participatory budgeting is a process by which community members are empowered to participate directly in deciding how to spend some portion of a public budget. Participatory budgeting started in Porto Allegre, Brazil, in 1989, as an anti-poverty measure that helped reduce child mortality by nearly 20%. Since then, participatory budgeting has spread to over 3,000 cities around the world, and has been used to decide budgets from states, counties, cities, housing authorities, schools, and other institutions. The New York Times calls participatory budgeting “revolutionary civics in action”— it deepens democracy, builds stronger communities, and creates a more equitable distribution of public resources.