Advancement Project California The Best Resistance is Our Collective Success

Equity In Public Funds Empowers Communities Through Budgets

The Equity in Public Funds program transforms the relationship between City Hall and high-need communities, by empowering communities to engage in the budget and funding fights that matter to them and become high-impact advocates for their needs over the long haul. Download fact sheet here.

Budgets aren’t just dollars and cents – they reflect priorities, and communities of color have rarely been the priority. These communities often don’t have the capacity or opportunity to make their voice meaningfully heard in the current (complex, opaque) system, and so public spending is inequitable, with the greatest investments failing to go to the greatest needs.

It’s not enough to simply reverse the years of cuts during the Great Recession – we need to make new investments that are smarter and more equitable. Community leaders need to have their voices heard in budget debates, instead of being walled off by complex technical details and opaque budget processes without opportunities for public engagement. Through trainings, public finance data and research, and political strategy development, we help our community partners get the win and build their power and expertise.

Impact until Now

Through an array of tools and training, community advocates now are able to understand how to make strategic use of public finance data and information. Check out the toolkits developed to help advocates understand how to impact the L.A. City budget, L.A. County budget, and the L.A. Unified School District Budget.

Our hands-on technical assistance work goes deeper, helping community leaders conduct campaigns for better investments in youth development, parks, and community well-being. We don’t just give communities a screwdriver – we’re right there helping them use it to build.

Looking to the Future

Our Equity in Public Funds work is increasingly getting the attention of funding and community partners. That support, and additional dedicated staffing, allows the program to deepen and expand its work in 2015. We will be sustaining current campaign work in Boyle Heights and Fresno, while expanding to new places throughout California.

We will make available equity-based analyses of local and state budgets to diverse stakeholders, and engage in proactive advocacy to make budgets more transparent and accountable to high-need communities.

For more information about Equity in Public Funds’ programs and technical assistance capabilities, please contact Mike Russo, Equity in Public Funds Manager, at  or (213) 406-9146.