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Now seeking request for proposal in Participatory Budgeting

The Community Investments (CI) Division of the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR) is seeking applications from organizations and coalitions to provide administrative and consulting services to assist the City in planning and developing an approximately $28 million Participatory Budgeting (PB) Program.

In June 2021, the City of Seattle placed the development of a Request for Proposals for the Participatory Budgeting process into the Seattle Office for Civil Rights (SOCR). After the protests following the murder of George Floyd in 2020, calls to acknowledge the systematic harm done to Black communities resulted in numerous proposals coming from BIPOC organizations on how to invest in community safety through funding for housing, education, and healthcare directly back into the community instead of policing. This participatory budgeting process is one result of this community organizing and activism and will be one of the largest participatory budgeting undertakings in the nation.

Information sessions for the request for proposals will be held on December 7, 9, and 14.

  • Tuesday, December 7, 5-7pm: Information Session 1 – RFP Process Overview (Virtual)
  • Thursday, December 9, 5-7pm: Information Session 2 – Presentation of Black Brilliance Research Project Report (Virtual)
  • Tuesday, December 14, 5-7pm: Information Session 3 – Application FAQ: Proposals, Budgets, etc. (Virtual)

“The info sessions are designed to provide information about this funding process to anyone who has an interest in applying. We’re really encouraging folks to attend, especially if they already have some questions in mind about expectations. We want to make sure people feel well prepared for this process, so we’ll cover everything from technical details to providing time for a Q&A session,” says Community Investments Manager John Page.

Strategic Advisor Emanuel “mano” da Silva, the newest team member in the Community Investments Division, will be the direct point of contact for those seeking additional resources outside the info sessions and encourages anyone with questions to reach out to keep the process engaging and transparent. “The biggest challenge we’ll have is making sure that we don’t fall into typical bureaucratic systems that can often end up oppressive to the communities we try to serve. But we’ve got the opportunity to really lean into the spirit of this process and engage the community in some pretty amazing participatory work,” says da Silva.

SOCR plans to select one proposal for funding. After proposals are submitted, a rating panel comprised of community members and City staff will review, rate, and make final selection recommendations based on the evaluation criteria outlined in the Request for Proposal. SOCR Director Mariko Lockhart will make the final award decision based on recommendations by the review panel.   

“This participatory budgeting process will be the largest in scope and scale that the City of Seattle has experienced or had the opportunity to participate in. The goal is that people who are most impacted by structural and systemic racism will have a voice in how millions of dollars are invested and should lead to community investments that best meet their needs. Both the investments and the process itself can be transformational,” says Director Lockhart.

Learn more about the Request for Proposal.