Friday, January 25, 2013

Meet the Maker Space in a Church Basement

Mt. Elliot Maker Space in the Detroit Church of the Messiah basement helps youth and adults develop skills around bikes, computer, workshop tools, art, and more.
On assignment for Shareable in Detroit, I've been looking for some hope to report on beyond the devastation porn the mainstream media seems fixated on. I'd only been there one day and found plenty of it - driven by determined, creative and resilient folks.
I went to a meeting at the "World Famous" Church of the Messiah for the Detroit Community Cooperative, a worker coop business incubator and a coop of small businesses that aim to support each other. Still in it's early stages and with limited funding, this program is aspiring to develop the Mondragon of Detroit.
I showed up early and a churchgoer named Craig, bubbling with enthusiasm for what he was about to show me, brought me down to the basement of the Church, which turned out to be a maker space, called Mt. Elliot Maker Space, with a strong emphasis on youth, job skills and microenterprise development.
Youth taking apart and rebuilding electronics, courtesy of Mt. Elliot Maker Space.
Pastor Barry allowed some neighborhood folks and a community association who pitched in, to build out the space for an earn-a-bike program, a community tool  workshop space, a computer learn and build lab, screenprinting program, and more. An 11 year old girl recently learned soldering and now she's teaching other folks at the makerspace.
There is a small company blossoming there, reusing wood from abandoned Detroit houses and making them into high end furniture to provide much needed local jobs, possibly as a worker coop.
Craig said it's the only bike shop, much less community bike shop, on that side of town. Particularly helpful now the city is coming close to shutting down the majority of its bus service, even though the temperatures drop below zero in Michigan. At least people can get to work if they need to on bike. They can to come to the Church of the Messiah and learn how to fix and build their own bike.

John, who built out much of the maker space and tool workshop, photo by Mira Luna

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Young Adults: Win a Grant to Start a Sharing Project!

01.23.13, 3:24pm 
Are you interested in starting a sharing project, or know someone who is? Then you should apply for a seed grant from Shareable! This brand-new pilot program offers small grants and technical support to students and young leaders under 30 to help them catalyze a sharing project in their communities.
The program offers up to $1,000 to young leaders on college campuses and in cities to launch projects or events that strengthen their communities as platforms for sharing. Along with cash awards, Shareable will also offer media and technical support, as well as project coaching and access to our network of sharing experts.

The entire application is online and only takes a few minutes to complete. Apply now.
The deadline to apply is Valentine’s Day (February 14, 2013), so please help us spread the word to anyone you know who might be interested. 

What’s a “sharing project”?
Here are examples of projects we’d like to support: swaps (clothing exchanges, book swaps), skill shares, bike and computer kitchens, lending libraries, timebanks, free stores and free schools, sharing-themed campus club, cooperatives of all kinds, and more.

But don’t let this list limit you. Be creative! We’re totally open to ideas that aren’t on the list. We’ll also consider summits and educational events to develop project ideas, alliances and next steps for community action.

Who can apply?
All college undergraduates, graduate students, and urban leaders under 30 are eligible to apply. We encourage applications from the Midwest, the South and low income communities. The deadline to apply is February 14, 2013. We will award the grants on February 21, 2013.

How can you apply?
Since this is a pilot, we’re keeping the project requirements fairly loose though we’d like to see proposals for achievable, sharing-themed, service projects that could become permanent institutions in the community. We encourage applicants to work in teams, and to find additional support from other organizations.

If you’re a young leader, please apply here by February 14, 2013. And please share this opportunity with people who you think would be interested.

Who is Shareable?
Shareable is an online magazine about sharing. We cover the people, projects, and communities that are bringing a shareable world to life. This shareable world includes things like car sharing, clothing swaps, childcare coops, potlucks, and cohousing, to make life more fun, green, and affordable. When we share, not only is a better life possible, but so is a better world. Make sure to check out our how-tos so you can make sharing real in your life.

Why has Shareable created this pilot program?
In May 2011, Shareable hosted a one-day event called ShareSF. We invited city officials, sharing entrepreneurs, nonprofits and new economy leaders to explore how to strengthen San Francisco as a platform for sharing. ShareSF combined education with action, including a half-day unconference where leaders began collaborating. Nothing like ShareSF had ever been done before. It was an experiment.

Much to our surprise, the impact of ShareSF greatly exceeded our expectations. As a result of ShareSF, the City of San Francisco became keenly interested in the sharing economy. We helped Mayor Ed Lee launch the city’s Sharing Economy Working Group, which is working on sharing-friendly policies. We also hosted a speaking tour to educate the city about participatory budgeting, which they are piloting this year. Finally, we launched the first policy series about the sharing economy in partnership with the Sustainable Economies Law Center.

Inspired by the unexpected success of ShareSF, we tried a hands-on approach to developing sharing projects in other communities, but with mixed success. We realized that we’d have more success if we helped leaders create projects that make sense for their own communities. We believe that creating a network of local sharing leaders will have more impact than creating projects ourselves.

Don't wait, apply now online, just takes a few minutes. Click here to apply.

PB 2013 is on Fire!

 The Participatory Budgeting Project
  January 2013 Newsletter

Vote Results: Two and a Half Winning Projects in PB2

We're thrilled to announce the results of PB2 - our first organizational PB process! To practice what we preach, we asked everyone who donated to PBP last year to vote on how the donations are spent, to identify the priorities for PB in 2013. Here's the final vote tally:

1) Hire a Part-Time Development Person
2) Produce a PB Intro Video
3) Launch a Youth PB Campaign
4) Travel Funds for Conference Participants
5) Office Furniture and Equipment
6) New PB Brochures and Info Sheets

We committed to use half the money raised in donations to fund the projects with the most votes. When we started fundraising in October, our goal was to raise $6,000. But in just three months, you gave $16,834!

Thanks to the contributions of 130 amazing supporters, we raised enough to fund the top two priority projects above. We already hired a new development associate to assist with our fundraising (see below). In just a few weeks, she’s enabled us to submit three grant application letters and develop a strong plan for raising new resources.

We also just put out a request for proposals to produce a short PB video - please spread the word. If we can raise more resources, we’re committed to moving forward on the other priorities too. And as with PB more broadly, we saw that opening up our budget process helped attract more resources – not only the monetary donations, but also computers and a printer from Google, to meet our office equipment needs!

2013 PB Conference in Chicago

Building a Democratic City

From May 3-5, 2013, Building a Democratic City: The 2nd International Conference on Participatory Budgeting in the US & Canada will take place in Chicago. Together with conference co-organizers the Great Cities Institute, we are currently accepting proposals for conference sessions. Please see the Call for Proposals and conference website for more information. The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2013.

Join us for a weekend of exciting and engaging panels, presentations, and workshops, from participants and organizers of PB initiatives from across North America and the world. Conference participants will also observe this year's final PB Chicago vote, and celebrate the announcement of its results. PB Chicago now spans four city wards, building on the first PB initiative in the US, in the city's 49th Ward.

Registration will open in February. Stay tuned for more program updates, and info on our new PB training workshop that will take place on May 3rd right before the conference!

New(ish) Faces at PBP

January has brought lots of changes at PBP:
  • Lize Mogel is joining our team as part-time Development Associate - thanks to your money and votes in PB2!
  • Ramon Quintero, our Community Engagement Assistant for PB Vallejo, unfortunately had to step down. We're sad to see him go, but glad that he'll still be helping with outreach and the Spanish-language budget delegate committee.
  • Aseem Mulji, our fantastic fall intern in Vallejo, is taking over for Ramon, as our new Vallejo Project Assistant.
  • Donata Secondo is stepping down as Project Coordinator for PBNYC, though she's staying involved with PBP as a Program Associate, to help with our conference and other projects.
  • Pam Jennings is now serving as our Project Coordinator for both PB Vallejo and PBNYC.
  • Isaac Jabola-Carolus, one of our fall interns in NYC, is joining staff as a full-time Project Assistant, working mostly on PBNYC.
  • Finally, speaking of amazing interns, we welcomed our two spring interns - José Ramón Martí and Aviva Coopersmith!
  • Whew! See our staff page for bios and more info...

Coming in 2013...

We're pretty stoked about what's in store for 2013! Some highlights:
  • PB Launches in San Francisco. The first meeting for District 3's PB process is this Saturday! We're thrilled to be working on this pilot with such fabulous partners - SF Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, the SF Controller's Office, Coleman Advocates, the Chinese Progressive Association, Chinese for Affirmative Action, and the California Civic Innovation Project.
  • Deepening PB in NYC and Chicago. We're honored to receive new funding for PBNYC and PB Chicago, together with partners Community Voices Heard and the Great Cities Institute. While we're still working toward full funding, we'll be able to roll out some upgrades thanks to generous support from the New York Women's Foundation, New York Foundation, New York Community Trust, Scherman Foundation, Field Foundation, Crown Philanthropies, and Institute for Political and Civic Engagement at UIC. Thank you!
  • New Cities. In the past few months we've had discussions with officials and community groups in over a dozen cities, including Buffalo, Greensboro, Hartford, Louisville, New Orleans, Portland (OR), Richmond (CA), San Diego, San Juan, Somerville (MA), St. Louis, and Toronto. Stay tuned for more info about speaking appearances and new PB processes!
  • New Budgets. We're working to push the frontiers of PB, testing out new processes in schools, housing authorities, and organizations.
  • New Tools. Over the next several months we're developing a new batch of PB guides, videos, presentations, and promotional materials, to better support local activists.
We look forward to your collaboration and support on these new efforts!

A non-profit organization that helps communities decide how to spend public money

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Featured Video
Last November, California Forward reported on why Vallejo adopted Participatory Budgeting. Now they've produced this great video about PB Vallejo: Citizen engagement enters new phase in Vallejo participatory budgeting
California Forward Video

In the Press
The Journal of Public Deliberation released a special issue focused on PB, including several contributions from Team PBP:

PBP's Josh Lerner & Donata Secondo break down the bottom-up design approach used for PB in the US, in "By the People, For the People"

PBP Associate Gianpaolo Baiocchi and our friend Ernesto Ganuza write about PB's global travels in "The Power of Ambiguity"

PBP Advisory Board Member Celina Su describes how PBNYC is starting to expand the possibilities for who can  participate in politics, in "Whose Budget? Our Budget?"

Chicagotalks writes about PBP's Maria Hadden and the 46th Ward residents who are helping to build Participatory Budgeting Chicago: Uptown takes next step in participatory budgeting In Brooklyn, a class of 5th graders thanks City Councilmember and PBP Advisory Board Member Brad Lander for "teaching us what it means to live in a democracy"

PBP Board Chair Mike Menser writes about Superstorm Sandy and PB in "The Participatory Metropolis, or Resilience Requires Democracy"

PBP Magnets Now Available! 
For only $1 you can now adorn your fridge with a PBP magnet! Send us an email to order our beautiful PBP logo t-shirts ($17 +postage), stickers ($1), and magnets. T-shirts are available in kelley green or white. Sizes are limited.

Follow Us on Twitter
PBP is tweeting! Follow us @PBProject!

Like Us on Facebook
PBP is on Facebook. "Like us" and get access to more resources and news.

If you like this newsletter, forward it to a friend or share via Facebook! Send PBP News: PB2 Vote Results, Chicago Conference, New Hires, New Cities to friends on Facebook

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Choosing a Union Hotel Just Got a Whole Lot Easier...

Dear Friends,

Stay in hotels occasionally? Got an iPhone or an iPad? Then we've got an app for you.
Download the free UNITE HERE Union Hotels Guide app now. <>

Our simple app makes choosing a union hotel a whole lot easier. Use the map to locate a union hotel by current location, or plan ahead and search by city.

Best of all, you know you're traveling ethically and directing your dollars to responsible hotels that provide good jobs and top-notch service.

The app also guides you away from any potential travel disruptions. We know you don't want to cross a picket line, so the app conveniently informs you of any hotels are that under boycott or at risk of dispute.

Take a moment to download the free Union Hotels Guide app now via iTunes. <>

Thank you and enjoy.

UNITE HERE, 275 7th Ave., New York, NY 10001

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Call for Proposals for 2013 Participatory Budgeting Conference

Join us in Chicago May 3-5, 2013 for Building a Democratic City: The 2nd International Conference on Participatory Budgeting in the US and Canada! We are now accepting proposals for workshops, presentations, panels, and other sessions – please see the Call for Proposals for more information. The deadline for submissions is February 15, 2013.

  • Contact Us (at)