WHAT IS PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING?
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process where community members decide how to spend part of a public budget. PB gives communities real power over real money.
PB started in Porto Alegre, Brazil as an anti-poverty measure, and has since spread to over 7,000 cities around the world. PB has been used to spend state, county, and city budgets, as well as those of schools, housing authorities, and other public institutions.
PB IN NYC
PB came to New York City in 2011 when four City Council Members began the process in their own districts. Since then, PB has spread to most districts, giving community members real power over $35 million of taxpayer money every year.
In 2018, the Mayor announced the launch of PB in all NYC public high schools. Students can decide on up to $2,000 to improve their schools.
How is “It’s Our Money” Different From the Rest of NYC’s PB Processes?
- It is the city’s first city-wide youth PB process
- The PB pot is for programs and services (not physical infrastructure)
- Participation is 100% virtual as a result of the current pandemic;
- But this process will be focused on testing youth-led solutions to the participation problems we face when we can’t physically meet people where they are at
- The PB pot is for programs and services (as opposed to physical structures)
- Issues & Ideas will also be collected through text, phone-calls, website, and youth-facilitated virtual events
- The Civic Engagement Commission will invest in a centralized, flexible, digital space that will serve as a platform for civic engagement innovations for years to come; The website will be youth-designed and administered!
- The process will pay special attention to how young people may have been affected by the current crisis and its resulting economic, social, and emotional impacts
OUR GOALS FOR PB
What does this process aim to do?
During our process design workshops participating youth-serving organizations and their young people decided “It’s Our Money” should aim to:
- Educate young people about the pb process
- Take youth temperature around what they think a PB process should look like
- Connect more people to local government & foster life-long civic engagement
- Build better relationships & partnerships with youth organizations to increase youth participation
- Create more partnerships among Community Based Organizations (CBOs)
- Remote participation
How does it work?
- We work with youth organizations across the city to engage young people and identify their needs through a series of youth-facilitated virtual discussions, text, and phone calls designed to surface their current needs.
- We interview youth service providers to surface youth issues that may not come up in a public setting, and understand the current youth programming landscape in NYC, which has been in flux as a result of the current pandemic and budget cuts
- We compile the issues identified and ideas collected from young people throughout New York City and publish a statement of needs
Youth-serving organizations develop proposals for programs and services that meet the statement of needs
- Young people provide feedback in real-time on a rolling basis, giving organizations the opportunity to adjust proposals
- Young people vote on five proposals to be funded
WHO CAN PARTICIPATE?
Who can submit an idea?
- Young people in 4th grade and above
- Youth-serving organizations
Who can vote?
- Young people in 4th grade and up to 24 years old;
- There is no minimum age or grade requirement for young people who participate in programs at an organization
- Young people who are part of an organization
- bring insights about what youth in that organization need. Their opinion is valuable!
Although “It’s Our Money” is a youth process, there are many ways for adults over the age of 24 to participate. They can spread the word to the young people they know (both formally & informally), adults that work for a youth-serving organization can submit project proposals that meet the stated needs of young people, and they can help design the process by attending design workshops.
HOW WILL PEOPLE SUBMIT PROPOSALS, PROVIDE FEEDBACK, AND VOTE?
All official proposal submissions, public comments, and voting will take place on the Civic Engagement Commission’s digital platform expected to be launched in November 2020. We will work with a roster of participating youth organizations throughout the city to engage young people at every step of the process.
“It’s Our Money!” Organization and Proposal Submission Guidelines
Organizational and Project Requirements
To be eligible for funding:
- Your organization must have a 501c3 status, or you must identify an organization willing to act as a fiscal sponsor who is able to do business with the City of New York.
- Organizations MUST be registered in the NYC Payee Information Portal in order to receive funding from the CEC.
- Your organization must be able to front the costs of implementing this project. Organizations can only invoice based on deliverables.
Funding May be Used for:
- Permanent employees directly supporting or leading the implementation of the project
- Temporary employees or consultants needed to implement projects
- Equipment, materials and supplies needed to implement the process
- Youth stipends and/or incentives (e.g. travel costs via metro card, gift cards, etc.).
Funding May Not be Used for:
- Office furniture/equipment, general operating costs (e.g. rent, insurance, and/or utilities)
- General administration fees
Respond to Youth Needs: The project must directly relate to the needs and ideas gathered from youth as part of this process and presented in the Youth Needs Assessment Report.
Youth Engagement: You must engage young people in the planning and implementation of the project.
Priority Neighborhoods: Your project must benefit at least one of the 25 priority neighborhoods in the following community districts.
- Mott Haven
- Hunts Point
- Concourse Highbridge
- University Heights
- East Tremont
- Bedford Park
- Bedford Stuyvesant
- East New York
- Sunset Park
- Coney Island
- East Flatbush
- Central Harlem
- East Harlem
- Washington Heights
- Jamaica/St. Albans
- The Rockaways
- St. George
Note: This list of eligible neighborhoods was compiled to ensure “It’s Our Money” serves the needs of young people in neighborhoods that were the most impacted by Covid-19 and its resulting social, economic, and public health impacts.
The data used to inform this list includes the Citizens Committee for Children (CCC)) Risk Child & Family Well-being Community District Risk Ranking and and NYC’s Department of Health Covid-19 data (case rates).
CCC’s data examines 18 different indicators across 6 domains of child and family well-being including economic security, housing, health, education, family, and community. The report uses indicators such as child poverty rates, parental employment instability, the rate of families with children in homeless shelters, high-school graduation rates, and youth unemployment.
We hope this eligibility requirement leads to more equitable outcomes.
Project Budget: Your total project budget must equal $20,000. If your project costs less than this amount, we recommend partnering with another organization to meet this budget threshold.
Timeline: All work for this project must be completed by June 30, 2021, which is the end of the city’s fiscal year and the deadline for the funds to be spent.
Project Activity Alignment to CEC’s Mission: Your project must align in some way with at least one of the following description of activities:
- Skills development in organizing & advocacy
- Stewardship of public spaces: public parks, transportation, etc.
- Youth and student engagement
- Civics education
- Community outreach involving residents that have been historically underrepresented in or underserved by city government and its processes related to the above
Expectations of Funding Recipients
Awarded funding recipients must:
- Submit a final report upon completion of the funding term.
- Submit timely receipts and invoices for services rendered within the funding agreement.
- Complete all deliverables by June 30, 2020.
- Coordinate with the CEC to co-brand relevant projects and promote on external channels.
- Participate in a debrief session at the end of the funding term with NYC Service and other funding recipients.
Evaluation Criteria and Procedures
- All proposals submitted by organizations will be reviewed to determine whether they are responsive or non-responsive to the requisites of this proposal submission process.
- Applications that are determined by the CEC to be non-responsive will be rejected.
- A contract will be awarded to the responsible proposer whose application complies with the factors set forth in the guidelines, whose price proposal is fair and reasonable, and receives a majority of votes as determined by the youth voting process.
- The application is due by January 22nd by midnight. Applicants will be informed of their application status no later than February 3rd.