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Democracy in Action: Participatory Budgeting Petition – Evanston, IL

Democracy in Action: Participatory Budgeting Petition – Good Neighbor Fund
(Evanston-Northwestern University)
Posted July 1, 2017


Evanston residents
Members of the Northwestern University community (students, faculty, staff)
Friends of Evanstonians and Northwestern folks
Anyone who cares about real democracy
Maria Hadden, Participatory Budgeting Project – Chicago
Ines Sommer – filmmaker, Count Me In
Thea Crum — Great Cities Institute, University of Illinois-Chicago – partner to Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP)

Hi, all —

I have just posted a MoveOn petition recommending a public process to allocate the 2017-18 Good Neighbor Fund, the annual $1,000,000 that Northwestern University donates to the City of Evanston.

Specifically, I am recommending the use of PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING, a wonderful technique for experiencing democracy in action. You can sign the petition or read more about PB and the Good Neighbor Fund at the petition site:

Why Participatory Budgeting?
— PB is a common sense process for making group decisions about public resources.
— Everyone can be involved at every decision point of the process — from design to project suggestions to final allocation.
— Grounded in reality, not abstract theory. Real money is on the table — in this case $1,000,000
— Usually funds multiple projects at once — not one winner takes all
— Creates long-term working relationships among residents, officials, and other community stakeholders.
— Cuts through entrenched civic stalemates — e.g., police citizen oversight board, library audit, school gap, board & commission quorum issues, affordable housing
— Satisfying personal and communal experience
— Restores trust in our collective adult responsibility to promote good decision-making for the benefit of all

In other words, real people coming together to make real decisions about real resources and real issues in real time with real results.

Good Neighbor Fund — official NU webpage & description of fund
2015 allocation (news article)
2016 allocation (news article)

Participatory Budgeting Project
New York-based non-profit with a Chicago office


If you agree that Evanston and Northwestern would benefit from a “democracy in action” experience, please:
1. Sign the petition
2. Add your own comment on the petition
3. Share the petition with other Evanstonians and NU folks

Here’s to real democracy in our lifetime….