Quick History of Participatory Budgeting in Boston


Designing the PB process and writing a municipal ordinance.

a Yes on 1 sign in focus in front of a fence, in the background there is water and the Boston skyline

Councilor Edwards files Charter Amendment. Voters come out in masses to vote in an overwhelming majority YES on question 1. Ballot initiative passes! image of Councilor Lydia Edwards giving a press conference in front of Boston's City Hall, with a group of sixteen people standing in a semi-circle a few paces behind her; there is a person holding a recorder, crouched in the bottom, right of the photo, wearing a mask, and the dark wood podium Councilor Edwards is standing at has the official Boston City Council seal on the top portion

Grassroots community organizers, researchers, and political leaders form a study group to research various ways of reforming Boston’s City Charter. The group begins drafting a report, “Rewrite the Rules: Democratizing City Charters in Boston and Beyond” on their findings and recommendations (forthcoming).

two people in bright yellow shirts, mid discussion at the BPP Assembly in 2019, other people are sitting in chairs more out of focus in the background

#BlackLivesMatter uprisings create mass demand to #Defund, but also to reinvest through participatory budgeting.  photo of volunteers on a green lawn holding yes on 1 signs, with building in the background
Ujima Project Project launched, practicing PB of a community investment fund. Ujima Project Logo
2014 - Now
YLC continues as a program of the Dept. of Youth Engagement and Employment, with leadership from the Mayor’s Youth Council. Youth Lead the Change logo: bright green circle with white, bold, capitalized letters that read across the top: 'Youth Lead the Change' and on the bottom: 'Participatory Budgeting Boston'
2013 - 2014

“Youth Lead the Change” was established, with technical  assistance from Participatory Budgeting Project and Center for Economic Democracy, with a steering committee co-chairs by the City School and Boston Student Advisory Council.


Mayor Menino, as one of his parting acts as outgoing mayor, allocated $1 million of Boston’s capital budget to a participatory budgeting process for youth.


City Councilor Tito Jackson held the first public hearing on PB in the City Council.

Right to the City Boston adopted PB as part of its policy platform. Right to the City logo
Boston Workers Alliance launched the “District Dollars” campaign to promote PB in Boston. Inspired by the yearly struggle to increase youth jobs funding, BWA members sought strategies that enable our communities to better control the budget.    logo for Boston Workers Alliance - yellow circle with 'BWA' written in black and silhouettes of people marching surrounded by a larger blue circle with white letters that read 'Boston Workers Alliance' in capital letters. To the right of the circle, in bold, blue, capitalized letters, it says, 'Boston Workers Alliance,' and underneath, in less bold, black text, 'Fighting for Jobs & Cori Reform'
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