What happens when residents are empowered to decide together how to spend public money in their own communities? This is the foundational premise of "participatory budgeting." It aims to deepen democracy, build stronger communities, and make public budgets more equitable and effective. The first participatory budgeting efforts began in 1989, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Today, there are over 3,000 participatory budgeting processes around the world, most at the municipal level--including here in Cleveland.
In the wake of major federal legislation, public investments are finding their way to state and local municipalities. For example, in September, nearly $12 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds were approved by Cuyahoga County Council. Here in Cleveland, Participatory Budgeting Cleveland (PB CLE) is a grassroots effort and coalition which hopes to make budgeting moments like these a more democratic and transparent process.
Erika Anthony, Executive Director of Cleveland VOTES will lead a conversation at the Happy Dog in Cleveland's Gordon Square District on new ways to deepen residents' civic engagement. Joining the conversation is Councilwoman Stephanie Howse; Michelle Jackson of PB CLE; and Kenny Medrano, the Former Director of Participatory Budgeting (District 26, NYC).
The livestream will be available beginning at 7:30p.m. Have questions? Tweet them at @TheCityClub or send a text to 330.541.5794.