Participatory Budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. We’re excited to start collecting your ideas for how we should invest collectively in our neighborhoods this year!

Last year’s winning projects included funding a sewing circle for survivors of domestic violence in Kensington, making a greener, safer play yard at P.S. 58, installing trash cans for cleaner streets, and a program to train Spanish-speaking teens to be educators. 

What Is PB?

Participatory Budgeting (PB) is grassroots democracy in action. It is a year-long process that depends from start to finish on the participation of you and your neighbors. The first step is for residents to come together to brainstorm and share ideas for needed projects. After ideas are collected, volunteers research each idea, including costs and specifics of every proposed project. 

Details of the suggested projects are reviewed, finalized, and presented at the Participatory Budgeting Expo in the weeks before the vote. Finally, residents from across the district come out to vote for their favorite projects, and together we collectively decide which of the proposed projects will get funded.

Participatory Budgeting was first implemented in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989. District 39 was part of bringing PB to New York City for the first time in 2011. This is our 10th year of the program, which is now rolling out city-wide. 

Council Member Brad Lander’s District is one of the only ones that allocates money through Participatory Budgeting to expense projects ($50,000) in addition to capital projects ($1.5 million). Capital projects are usually physical improvements to our neighborhoods, things like new freeze-proof water fountains in Prospect Park, or the new playground at Ennis Park. Expense projects are smaller programs or services for our communities, like bilingual mental health first aid training or women’s self-defense classes. 

District 39 includes the neighborhoods of Cobble Hill, Carroll Gardens, Columbia Waterfront, Gowanus, Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Borough Park, Kensington.

How Can I Get Involved?

There are many ways to help out in the PB process.  You can:

  • Suggest an idea in person OR online
  • Attend an Ideas Collection event to learn about ideas being suggested
  • Become a budget delegate, committee facilitator or otherwise volunteer
  • Join the Youth Committee (for District 39 residents between ages 11 – 18)
  • Amplify PB communications and information to build awareness
  • Vote on the projects you think would best serve the community

Our 2020 (Cycle 9) winning projects 

Expense projects (totalling $50,000)

1. Destigmatize Periods: Peer-to-Peer Workshops, led by the Peer Health Exchange ($5,000)
2. Finally, Music for PS 124! Led by the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music ($15,000)
3. Arts & Job-Skills Program for Adults with Disabilities at the Pacific Library ($7,000)
4. Arts and Activities at Albemarle Playground, led by the Singing Winds ($15,000)
5. Bike Repair Station at Local Libraries

Capital projects (totalling $1.5 million)

1. Accessible Playground at PS 372 ($600K)
2. Gym renovations at BNS/BCS ($100K)
3. Repaving walking paths in Prospect Park ($500K)
4. Library Laptops at Borough Park Library! ($76K)
5. Harness the Sun to Power Borough Park Library ($350K)
6. Indoor Plant Lab at PS 130 ($50K)