Participatory Budgeting

CUNY SPS team members posing in front of CUNY SPS wall

The CUNY School of Professional Studies has been a bastion of innovation since its inception. In the Fall of 2021, CUNY SPS launched a participatory budgeting process that invited all community members to ideate and actualize creative ways to make our school better. We had four winners who developed projects that amounted to $50,000. In the spirit of community building and democratized engagement, this Spring 2022 our school will allocate another $50,000 for projects voted upon by the SPS community. CUNY SPS will make five awards of $10,000 to any member(s) of the SPS community (students, faculty, administrative staff, etc.).

Our participatory budgeting process began with a town hall on September 14, 2021, where SPS community members were invited to surface concerns, desires, and dreams in the service of improving our school. The takeaways from this conversation are posted on this site and can be used to guide those wanting to submit projects that are responsive to community interests and needs.

SPS community members are invited to develop a proposal for a project that would address the issues raised which could receive up to $10,000. If there is a collaborative project, the team could be eligible for a higher award amount up to $25,000. The proposal can be found on this webpage and is due via this Google Form due April 6, 2022. All proposals will be judged based on how well they meet the folioing criteria:

  1. Align with our core values of community, flexibility, and, equity
  2. Align with one or more of the areas outlined in the School’s strategic plan
  3. Meet the needs, interests, and desires of our community as articulated in the town halls and community meetings
  4. Use tax levy dollars in a permissible way (see the All Funds Expense Matrix)

Applicants must vet proposals by the department head or Academic Director related to your proposed project. You will need to submit approval as a part of your application. Please leave adequate time for the person approving to read and consider your application (at least a week).

A subcommittee of the budget committee with rotating membership each year will help decide which proposals met criteria and would be put up for a vote. The committee will be composed of members of the budget committee and some people from the wider SPS community. Possible membership could include: 2 (two) budget committee members, 1 (one) Academic Director, 1 (one) student services HEO series personnel, and 1 (one) student.

Decisions sent to applicants by April 15 and put on the ballot.

Proposals that meet the criteria will be eligible to be voted on. Voting will occur between May 8 and May 20. Every SPS community member gets one vote no matter their rank or position. May 25 the winners will be announced!

The funding cycle will begin July 1, 2022, and go through the end of the fiscal year June 30, 2023. All funds must be spent down and all grant activities must be doable in one year. Lawrence Maclean will oversee the spending on the five awards.

Spring 2022 Participatory Budgeting Timeline

March 9, 2022

Town Hall, present PB process to the CUNY SPS community

March 9, 2022

Proposal template released to the SPS community

April 6, 2022

Proposals due to the PB subcommittee

April 7 - 9, 2022

Committee will vet proposals with Academic Directors and other stakeholders.

April 11, 2022

Proposal Review Committee will meet to determine who is eligible based on rubric.

April 13, 2022

Committee gives rubric back to applicants with scores so they can figure out how to improve. This committee can recommend that like proposals be bundled or encourage cross-collaboration. Edits due by April 15.

April 15, 2022

Edits due back to the committee.

April 15, 2022

Decisions sent to applicants; successful proposals placed on the ballot.

April 18 - 22, 2022

Spring Break

April 25 - May 6, 2022

Create ballot with Big Pulse

May 8 - May 20, 2022

Ballot released for voting

May 25, 2022

Winners announced

July 1, 2022

Funding cycle begins

January 31, 2023

Mid-year report due

June 30, 2023

Final report due


Who can develop a proposal? Everyone! Any member(s) of the SPS community including students, faculty, administrative staff, etc.

Can I work with someone else to submit something? Of course! You can submit on your own or you can partner. We support collaborations between students and faculty, across units, across PEWL and the academic side of the house, across academic programs, across units, etc.

Can I ask for more than $10,000? You can propose less than $10,000 but not more than that unless you are doing a proposal in partnership with another unit, etc.

Can I spend on whatever I want? No! You need to look at the All Funds Expense Matrix really carefully and make sure what you are proposing is allowed.


Sample Documents