Press Releases

New York City Civic Engagement Commission Announces Voting Phase of “The People’s Money” Citywide Participatory Budgeting Process

For Immediate Release: May 1, 2024 

Contact:, 646-769-6032

All New Yorkers 11 and older can vote on how to spend $3.5M of the city budget

NEW YORK — New York City Civic Engagement Commission (CEC) Chair and Executive Director Dr. Sarah Sayeed today announced the launch of its annual “The People’s Money” voting phase. “The People’s Money” is New York City’s annual citywide participatory budgeting process. Starting today and through June 12th, all New York City residents ages 11 and older, regardless of immigration status, will be able to vote on how to spend $3.5M of mayoral expense funding to address community needs.

All New Yorkers have the opportunity to vote on a ballot for their home borough. Residents can vote online by inputting their zip codes. Paper ballots will also be available citywide at sites listed on After June 12th, ballots will be tabulated, and winning projects will be announced.  Implementation of selected projects will begin later this year, by community organizations to be selected through a competitive process.

“The people of New York City sit at the top of the city organization chart. Their needs and their voices are core to our programs and policies,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. "The citywide participatory budgeting program shows our administration’s commitment to communities long left out by government and encourages them to bring their lived experience and opinions into decision making about New York City’s budget and the programs that affect their lives.  We hope every New Yorker will vote in this year’s process.”“Participatory budgeting empowers New Yorkers by giving them a seat at the table to work hand-in-hand with government to shape the future of our great city,” said Chief of Staff Camille Joseph Varlack. “We are proud to keep investing in this innovative program that provides New Yorkers with a voice on what projects they want to see prioritized in their communities.”

“Democracy is made by people who participate, and The People’s Money is the City’s widest doorway to democracy.  Open to anyone 11 years and older, regardless of citizenship status, The People’s Money meets New Yorkers where they live and makes them partners in decisions that impact their lives,” said NYC Civic Engagement Commission Chair and Executive Director Dr. Sarah Sayeed. “We are excited to launch this second year of participatory budgeting and look forward to hearing from New Yorkers on what ideas they want to see implemented!” 

This year’s campaign, “Play Your Part: Your Money, Your Community, Your Vote,” centers The Sunnies, playful yellow sculptures that represent optimistic New Yorkers who care about each other and their community. Throughout the voting period, The Sunnies will be installed at public locations throughout New York City, including libraries, parks, and halls, to generate excitement and inspiration among everyday New Yorkers to become engaged in “The People’s Money” process and beyond. The Sunnies project was developed by CEC’s Artist in Residence Yazmany Arboleda and brought to life in partnership with a group of immigrant mothers from Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, and Venezuela."As a queer, Colombian American artist, I believe in building community by inviting people to imagine impossible futures together. Today, with the launch of The Sunnies, NYC’s Sunshine Sentinels lovingly crafted by immigrant mothers, we extend an open invitation to all: join us in The People's Money, embrace participatory democracy. These sculptures embody a vision where care flows freely, where optimism and heartfelt action guide our collective path forward," said CEC’s Artist in Residence Yazmany Arboleda.

For the voting phase, the CEC will be working with 85 community partners to conduct voter outreach across the five boroughs. Thirty organizational partners will engage in targeted outreach in Equity Neighborhoods to ensure an inclusive and equitable process.

A celebratory launch event will be held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on May 11 to galvanize our partners and recognize our volunteers. The CEC also will be collecting votes at borough flagship events, using The People’s Bus, a retired Department of Corrections vehicle transformed into a mobile community center as a pop-up voting and engagement booth. Confirmed events are:

  • May 18 – Hudson River Submerge Festival
  • May 19 – Bronx Week Festival and Parade
  • June 2 – Queens Pride Parade
  • June 8 – Staten Island Family Fun Day

In Brooklyn, the CEC team will engage residents at a major event on or around June 9th.

“Nurturing community bonds and amplifying local voices is crucial to the success of our great city. Through The People's Money, New Yorkers are helping shape their neighborhoods and voting on community-proposed initiatives that address unique local needs,” said NYC Chief Equity Officer and Mayor's Office of Equity and Racial Justice Commissioner Sideya Sherman. “Through the tireless and impassioned efforts of the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion and Equity (TRIE) neighborhood coalitions and other local groups, we are thrilled to see the continued transformative impact of participatory budgeting on the civic life of New Yorkers.”“Empowering New Yorkers of all ages and backgrounds to participate in shaping how we allocate funds within our communities is a testament to this city’s commitment toward true and equitable democratic representation,” said NYC Department of Veterans’ Services Commissioner James Hendon. “By ensuring every voice is heard, we not only strengthen the fabric of our communities, but also pay homage to the sacrifices made by our veterans and military service members who endeavor to uphold and defend the democratic ideals we hold dear.”

"The heart of our city is its people, and participatory budgeting puts power right into the people's hands to determine where a portion of our city budget funds go. The Public Engagement Unit is thrilled that the Civic Engagement Commission is leading this important initiative," said Mayor’s Public Engagement Unit Executive Director Adrienne Lever.

“NYC Service is thrilled to support this year’s voting phase for ‘The People's Money.’ Our greatest resource is our people, and the Civic Engagement Commission continues to champion inclusive practices that give the people of New York City meaningful opportunities to contribute to safe and livable communities,” said Chief Service Officer Laura Rog. “We look forward to engaging residents in the participatory budgeting process and supporting community groups with volunteer recruitment through our website!”

"Last year, New Yorkers were able to prioritize millions of dollars for the community needs they felt were the most deserving, and this year, they're make their voices heard again," said NYCHA Chief Executive Officer Lisa Bova-Hiatt. "I highly encourage all New Yorkers — especially the 1 in 17 that are NYCHA residents — to participate in "The People's Money" to cast their votes to fund the causes that are closest to home."

“Allowing for communities to be a part of the process of deciding how public funds are spent is common sense,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “The People’s Money is helping our city’s residents expand their civic roles and open up what it means to be an active participant in the future of New York. I’m so thrilled that our neighbors as young as 11 years old and no matter their citizenship status will have the chance to voice their opinion on the projects they’ve identified as community priorities. Thank you to the New York City Civic Engagement Commission for leading in this work to reaffirm the most basic tenets of democracy.”

“Our democracy is not a spectator sport. Each of us has a role to play in the betterment of our city, and the People’s Money Participatory Budgeting process is one we should all take seriously,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “I encourage everyone to cast a vote and support the projects they want to see funded, so we can begin the work of making our communities better places to live, work and play.”“Participatory Budgeting is a truly democratic process that gives our youth, undocumented New Yorkers, justice-involved residents, and other traditionally marginalized communities, a say in how money is invested back into our city,” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “With the Vote Phase of the second People’s Money Participatory Budgeting process, we look forward to hearing from our residents on which projects they want to see funded in our borough. Thank you to Mayor Adams, and the Civic Engagement Commission for continuing this important and innovative initiative.”

“The participatory budgeting process empowers New Yorkers to serve as fiduciaries of pooled financial resources both for and within their own communities. It provides multiple opportunities for communities to amplify their voices, and work with City government to identify and meet their own needs. This is democracy in action,” said Chief Democracy Officer Kathleen Daniel.

“Bronx Community Board 7 is proud to be joining the CEC's efforts to increase civic engagement through The People's Money. By partaking in this citywide participatory budgeting process, the board is raising awareness on NYC's Budget Process. Our community is learning about fiscal years, budget allocation, idea submission, proposal development. And will soon engage in voting to prioritize projects deemed to have the greatest positive impact in The Bronx,” said Bronx Community Board 7 District Manager Karla Cabrera Carrera.

“At Riis Settlement, we are excited to launch the voting phase of The People’s Money here in Queensbridge and throughout Western Queens. Community building and empowerment, civic engagement, and expanding access to resources for community members are hallmarks of the work we do and of the Settlement House model and we are looking forward to partnering with the New York City Civic Engagement Commission and other stakeholders in making this endeavor a huge success,” said Christopher Hanway, Jacob A Riis Neighborhood Settlement Executive Director.

"Participatory budgeting harnesses the trust built by local organizations and the communities we serve, allowing New Yorkers to choose how a portion of the city's budget is spent and mobilizes solutions in their own neighborhood. The Arab-American Family Support Center is excited for this year's voting phase of The People's Money because it will place us within the communities we have been serving in Brooklyn for over 30 years. They know and trust us, and we're looking forward to partnering with NYCCEC and our partners to amplify our community's voices in NYC's democratic systems," said Adriana Curto, Development and Communications Manager, Arab-American Family Support Center.

"NYPIRG is thrilled to partner with the CEC on the voting phase of the citywide participatory budgeting process, 'The People's Money.' This project offers all New Yorkers, ages 11 or older, regardless of immigration status, a great opportunity to directly participate in addressing the needs of our communities. Civic engagement is a cornerstone of participatory democracy, and we commend the CEC efforts to empower New Yorkers, said Blair Horner, Executive Director of NYPIRG.

"I am thrilled by the incredible impact the Civic Engagement Commission and the People's Money continue to have on the residents of Canarsie, Brooklyn. Canarsie is a community that greatly needs these resources, and the projects will benefit so many people. At HAC, we are excited to empower the neighborhood and get them actively involved in the civic engagement process. Together, we will ensure that the residents of Canarsie win and thrive from these important initiatives,” said Sam Pierre, Executive Director, Haitian American Caucus.

In the Idea Generation phase, from September through November of 2023, roughly 2,000 project ideas were proposed by New York City residents. The CEC and over 100 partner organizations engaged New Yorkers in more than 440 virtual and in-person workshops across the five boroughs, enabling residents to identify community needs and brainstorm ideas for expense projects through interactive activities. Residents were also able to propose ideas and projects directly on CEC’s online platform.

In the Idea Vetting and Development Phase, January – February 2024, the CEC convened volunteer-based Borough Assembly Committees (BACs) to evaluate submitted ideas against equity and feasibility criteria. A total of 100 residents served on the five BACs, holding weekly sessions that resulted in development of the top project ideas into ballot proposals.

“The People’s Money” was launched by Mayor Eric Adams and the CEC on September 14, 2022. In the first cycle of the citywide participatory budgeting process, a total of 46 community projects were funded with $5M in city funds. Over 100,000 New Yorkers voted to select expense projects that address a wide range of community needs, including mental health, youth programs, food security and nutrition, and vocational training. The winning projects are being implemented by community-based organizations throughout New York City.

To learn more about “The People’s Money,” including the projects being implemented with city funds, visit

More About “The People's Money”

"The People's Money" is New York City's annual citywide Participatory Budgeting (PB) process, where community members decide how to spend part of the city’s budget. This democratic process is open to all New Yorkers, ages 11 and up, regardless of immigration status. Its goal is to deepen civic trust and engage communities in a process grounded in collective determination. The PB process was passed by citywide referendum in November 2018 as part of broader ballot proposals establishing the Civic Engagement Commission and mandating it to implement a yearly citywide participatory budgeting program.

In Phase 1, New Yorkers propose project ideas in person at community events organized by hundreds of organizations across the five boroughs and online through Next, in Phase 2, volunteer-based committees from the five boroughs discuss and shortlist the project ideas submitted in Phase I and develop top ideas into ballot proposals. In Phase 3, New Yorkers 11 and older vote for their favorite proposals in person at hundreds of community partner events across the city or online. In Phase 4, once winning ballot proposals are determined, a public request for proposals is published; evaluation committees evaluate and select proposals with the strongest implementation plans.

Prior to receiving funding to run a citywide program during 2022-2023, the CEC ran two localized participatory budgeting processes. "It's Our Money" in 2020, focused on youth initiatives, and "The People's Money" in 2021, a $1.3M participatory budgeting process, focused on the needs of the 33 neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19, as part of the Taskforce for Racial Inclusion and Equity (TRIE) Neighborhood Initiative.