Request for Proposals
The first three requests for proposals (RFPs) for Participatory Budgeting Grand Rapids (PBGR) selected projects are now on the street. The City is looking for individuals, organizations, companies or agencies to conduct a Democracy Skills Program, Community Reading Initiative, and Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence program aimed at residents in the First Ward.
View PBGR Request for First Ward Proposals
The Results Are In!
Based on the voting results and project rankings using ranked-choice voting methodology, the PBGR Steering Committee formally adopted the following projects (with estimated costs) to advance in the community.
Ward 1 Projects - $600,000 Total Investment
Affordable Quality Childcare – $150,000
Funding will create a pilot program for safe, certified childcare providers to offer 2nd and 3rd shift programming for families residing in Ward 1.
Supporting Victims of Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking – $100,000
Funding to create a pilot program offering support services to victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.
Youth Affordable Housing Support – $145,000
Funding to create a pilot program to house youth that is centered on creating safety, connection, and stability for youth in crisis.
Cleaning Up GR Proposal – $75,000
Funding part-time positions at the City of Grand Rapids to clean and beautify high-traffic corridors in Ward 1.
Community Reading Initiative for Violence Reduction – $50,000
Funding for a reading program aimed at preventing violence and promoting healthy communities amongst youth.
Citizens Advocacy Skills Academy – $80,000
Funding to create a pilot program centered on civic engagement education.
Ward 2 Projects - $400,000 Total Investment
Mental Health Community First Responder – $350,000
Funding to administer a program for the public based on teaching first aid, mental health crisis response, coordination with first responders, and de-escalation that will decrease unnecessary police interactions.
Cure Violence (Ward 2) – $50,000 plus additional investment
Funding to expand Cure Violence to two locations within Ward 2. Cure Violence is an evidence based model of violence prevention relying on trusted members from the community, known as violence interrupters, who work to build relationships – often acting as mediators – to stop violence before it occurs.
Ward 3 Projects - $1 million Total Investment
Lead Line Removal for 3rd Ward – $500,000
Funding for removal of lead lines directly from homes in the 3rd Ward. Funding will expedite the “Lead Service Line Replacement Program” currently in place.
Affordable Quality Child Care – $150,000
Funding will create a pilot program for safe, certified childcare providers to offer second and third shift programming for families residing in Ward 3.
Youth Affordable Housing Support – $145,000
Funding to create a pilot program centered on creating safe spaces for youth in crisis.
Community Based Violence Reduction Initiative – $205,000
Funding to pilot a community based public safety violence reduction initiative in the 3rd Ward.
Our participatory budgeting initiative is a democratic process that allows residents to help determine how public funds are spent. It gives people real power over public money. Participatory budgeting allows residents to identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending projects, and gives them the power to make real decisions about how money is spent.
Here's how the process will unfold over the course of the next year.
- Design the Process: A steering committee that represents the community creates the rules and engagement plan
- Brainstorm Ideas: Through meetings and online tools, residents share and discuss ideas for projects
- Develop Proposals: Volunteer "budget delegates" develop the ideas into feasible proposals
- Vote: Residents vote on the proposals that most serve the community's needs
- Fund Winning Projects: The City funds and implements the winning ideas
The PBGR rulebook is being developed in Grand Rapids for the first time in 2021 by a Steering Committee consisting of community volunteers from each Ward. This plan will be revised annually as future Steering Committee members tailor the process to best serve the unique needs, interests, and issues found in our neighborhoods. This rulebook remains a work in progress.
Download PBGR Rulebook(PDF, 5MB)
The initial funds for Participatory Budgeting GR are provided for by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The ARPA funds have limitations based on federal mandates. The participatory budgeting process follows PBP best practice for municipal budgeting which outlines $1 million per 100,000 in population. The $2 million that Grand Rapids has set aside for participatory budgeting exceeds similar sized cities such as Oakland, CA ($185K per 100K), Durham, NC ($889K per 100K) and Sacramento, CA ($200K per 100K).
The City Commission decided to distribute funds through graduated dispersal of $2 million across the City’s three wards. This allows for investment based in part on the distribution of demographic and economic factors in each Ward. The division of funds helps helps address historical disparities across the wards. The graduated ward distribution of funds includes:
- First Ward - $600,000
- Second Ward -$400,000
- Third Ward - $1,000,000
Project Idea Parameters
The initial funds for Participatory Budgeting GR are provided for by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The ARPA funds have limitations based on federal mandates. To help community members understand what can be funded, we've provided guidance on expenditures to align with ARPA requirements.
- Infrastructure investments related to water, wastewater and broadband
- Evidence-based violence reduction strategies
- Remediation of lead paint or other lead hazards in homes
- Economic and health impacts of COVID-19 (includes assistance to households, small business and nonprofits)
- Incentive pay to front-line workers
- Investments in housing and re-housing
- Addressing educational disparities
- Investing in healthy childhood environments