New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Civic Engagement Commission (CEC) Chair and Executive Director Dr. Sarah Sayeed has announced the results of “The People’s Money” — New York City’s first-ever citywide participatory budgeting vote.
Mayor Adams made the announcement in a statement on Wednesday August 2, 2023.
According to Adams, the 46 projects funded as a result of this participatory budget will address community needs as identified by residents, with an overwhelming focus on youth and mental health services.
Residents also chose projects that will focus on supporting the health and well-being of New Yorkers, food access, job training, workers’ rights, senior services, immigrant services, arts and culture, and the environment.
“Through this historic process, we are learning more about the needs and priorities of New Yorkers and taking steps to effect change by investing directly into our communities,” said Mayor Adams.
“This administration believes in the power of community voice, and by providing opportunities like ‘The People’s Money,’ we strengthen our democracy and deepen civic engagement,” he added.
Also speaking about the budget, New York City Chief Engagement Officer Betsy MacLean, maintained that “There’s no one better to decide how the New York City budget is spent than New Yorkers themselves.”
He added, “We all have an important part to play in making our beloved city work better and be better for all of us. Huge congratulations to Dr. Sayeed and the powerhouse ‘People’s Money’ team for leading this groundbreaking effort — the first of its kind so focused on equity and inclusion and at this scale. I am deeply inspired by the more than 100 community partners and over 100,000 New Yorkers who rolled up their sleeves and got in the weeds of city-making. We cannot wait for next year and even more ‘People’s Money’ for New Yorkers to spend!”
“When New Yorkers speak, we listen. That’s what participatory budgeting is all about — active listening, empowering communities, and building civic power,” said CEC Chair and Executive Director Dr. Sayeed. “Since its inception, the CEC has placed equity and justice at the center of our work to build trust in democracy. This historic process has inspired tens of thousands of new voices into the democratic process, providing a unique, accessible pathway into civic engagement, and we are incredibly grateful for the unprecedented level of participation. We will continue to partner with communities through the implementation of these exciting projects.”
“New York City’s first-ever citywide participatory budgeting process has been an exciting opportunity for the Adams administration to connect directly with communities as partners in government,” said New York City Community Affairs Unit Commissioner Fred Kreizman. “Congratulations to Dr. Sayeed and the Civic Engagement Commission team on engaging New Yorkers across all five boroughs to allocate $5 million! These funded projects will help address important community issues, including job training, senior services, and the environment.”
“Citywide participatory budgeting represents a powerful paradigm shift in governance, broadening decision-making power from a limited few to the collective wisdom of the community,” said Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit Executive Director Adrienne Lever. “When we embrace public engagement through participatory budgeting, we bridge the gap between city government and residents, cultivating stronger and more resilient communities.”
“I applaud this groundbreaking approach to allocating funds, which demonstrates a true commitment to engaging our community and addressing pressing needs in a collaborative way,” said New York City Department of Veterans’ Services Commissioner James Hendon. “These efforts will undoubtedly foster a stronger and more supportive environment for the community and our veterans and create a brighter future for this great city as a whole.”
“New Yorkers have ensured that $5 million goes toward the community needs that they feel are most deserving,” said New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) CEO Lisa Bova-Hiatt. “Youth and senior services, food access, job training, environmental sustainability — these are paramount issues for New Yorkers, including NYCHA residents, and it is empowering to see them rally to get them funded through ‘The People’s Money.’”
Between May 10 and June 25, New York City residents voted on how to spend part of the city budget in their communities. The CEC provided $1.7 million in funding to 105 community partners to engage in grassroots outreach directed toward New Yorkers who have typically been left out of the democratic process.