County of Marin - News Releases - Participatory Budgeting

For Immediate Release
April 21, 2023

Participatory Budgeting Grants Available in Marin

Applications for grants ranging from $10,000 to $250,000 accepted through May

San Rafael, CA – Good news: $2.5 million in federal funds will be distributed to Marin County projects that advance racial equity and improve local communities.  

Even better news: Everyone will have a chance to submit ideas and grant applications to achieve those goals and decide on how best use the funds to make meaningful change in Marin communities.  

Three women speak about participatory budgeting while sitting at table in a large room of people.More than 200 ideas have already been submitted on ways to improve Marin and advance equity via participatory budgeting.

The County’s participatory budgeting program, launched in 2022, is coordinated by the Marin County Office of Equity. During the first phase of the program, people were invited to share their ideas on how to use the $2.5 million to improve their community and advance equity. Over 200 ideas have been submitted by community members and over 2,675 of these ideas have received “likes.” Ideas received to date include free and low-cost early childhood education programs, neighborhood-based disaster response plans, safe havens for social gathering, and increased access to public transportation in rural communities, among other ideas.

The next step in the participatory budgeting process is for community members and nonprofits to turn their ideas into grant applications. Grants are available ranging from $10,000 to $250,000.

Grant applications should focus on neighborhoods that score below 70 on the Healthy Places Index (HPI) or have significant racial disparities. This includes the historically underserved communities within the Canal area of San Rafael, Marin City, Novato, and West Marin. HPI is a data tool aimed at advancing health equity across California by evaluating 23 key drivers of health and life expectancy.

There is a two-stage application process, with the Stage 1 application due on May 10 and the Stage 2 application due on May 31. The Stage 1 application is reviewed on a rolling basis, so the Office of Equity encourages applicants to submit early to confirm eligibility and receive assistance from grant writers.  

The Office of Equity is committed to helping community members and nonprofits submit complete and clear applications. They will host a series of application workshops, in which attendees will learn:

  • Your eligibility to receive PB grant funding
  • How to connect with our team of grant writers
  • How to complete the Stage 1 and Stage 2 applications
  • How to connect with a fiscal sponsor or nonprofit partner
  • How to create a project budget and timeline
  • Other questions/topics from participants

The dates for the online application workshops include:

The participatory budgeting webpage provides further guidance on the application process and eligibility.

County Equity Director Jamillah Jordan described the local participatory budgeting process as “an opportunity to give people real power over real money that can make a powerful impact in our local communities.” The goal, she said, is to connect the County’s commitment to racial equity with the budget process and address needs in local neighborhoods. 

County staff and community stakeholders will review the applications this summer. By fall, the public will have an opportunity to vote on which projects the County should consider for funding. Later, funding will be awarded, and recipients will launch implementation of the selected projects. 

Racial equity is a top priority for the Marin County Board of Supervisors. The Office of Equity’s mission is to establish the County as an anti-racist, multicultural workforce committed to accountability, transformational change, and community engagement. The integration of community engagement into the local government budget process, or participatory budgeting, has been used and studied in cities across the United States and around the world. Learn more about the Marin program at


Jamillah Jordan
Equity Director
County Administrator's Office

1600 Los Gamos Drive
Suite 370
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-6166
Email: Jamillah Jordan
County Administrator website