Past Event

Roving Café Society with WBEZ: Participatory Budgeting in Rogers Park

For the first time in the U.S., the city’s 49th Ward lets taxpayers directly decide how public money is spent. Residents of the ward were able to decide last year, through participatory budgeting, how to spend $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars. What are the benefits in participatory budgeting and what are its downfalls? Alderman Joe Moore of the 49th Ward and Elizabeth Vitell, Executive Director of the Rogers Park Community Council will be our guest speakers. Come learn more about this process and more at our Roving Café Society discussion!

Co-sponsored by WBEZ 91.5FM 


Joe Moore
Known as a pioneer for political reform, governmental transparency and democratic governance, Joe Moore has represented Chicago’s 49th Ward since 1991. Encompassing the majority of Chicago’s Rogers Park community and portions of the Edgewater and West Ridge communities, the 49th Ward is one of the nation’s most economically and racially diverse communities. Moore won re-election in 1995, 1999, 2003, and 2007.  He serves on the following City Council Committees: Budget and Government Operations; Rules and Ethics; Energy, Environmental Protection and Public Utilities; Finance; Health; and Historical Landmark Preservation.

Elizabeth A. Vitell has been serving as the Executive Director of the Rogers Park Community Council and the Rogers Park Community Development Corporation since December of 2007.  At that time, she returned to her roots in Rogers Park from Washington DC, where she worked for the International Justice Mission in strategic planning and outreach in connection with human rights advocacy in South America. Before moving to DC, Elizabeth served the Rogers Park community as a Board member and officer for many years and also as the representative of the City’s Law Department’s Drug and Gang House Enforcement Section.  Elizabeth speaks, reads and writes fluent Spanish.

Questions for Consideration

With residents now deciding how to distribute $1.3 million in taxpayer dollars, what are the benefits of participatory budgeting and what are its downfalls? What kind of evaluation system needs to exist in order to satisfy the priorities of the community? How can voting by all residents of the ward be encouraged?

Want to find out more?

Free and open to the public. For more information please call 312.422.5580.

If you need a sign interpreter or require other arrangements to fully participate, please call 312.422.5580. For parking locations near the facility, please visit