FirstRoot’s Participatory Budgeting platform empowers students with an opportunity to learn financial literacy skills by using real money on real projects while enabling teachers to build a positive engagement by running PB in Schools.

Bringing Participatory Budgeting in Schools

FirstRoot has built the world’s first Participatory Budgeting platform designed for schools.

  • Create your PB program in less than 2 minutes

  • Securely invite students to participate

  • Easily manage all PB cycle phases

  • Let everyone vote and get accurate results

  • Access engagement data

  • Run multiple, simultaneous PB cycles

  • Securely manage all data
  • Compliant with CCPA, FERPA, and GDPR


Our standards-aligned Financial Literacy and Civics curriculum makes it easy for teachers to adopt FirstRoot.

Learn more


Here’s everything you need to know to create, run and inmplement your own PB cycles using the FirstRoot platform!

Learn more


We’ve gathered the best Participatory Budgeting resources and toolkits to help bring PB in schools with FirstRoot!

Learn more

App Overview

The FirstRoot app guides teachers and students through all phases of a PB cycle: Planning, Ideation, Refinement, Voting & Implementation.

Adding proposals during Ideation

Ideation in a PB Cycle is about dreaming big: creating proposals solve real problems and create new opportunities.

FirstRoot makes it easy for every student in the program to share their amazing ideas. Students can start simply and work together to expand details.

Refining proposals through videos

Refinement in a PB Cycle is about making sure proposals are desirable, viable, feasible, and sustainable. One of the most powerful ways students can refine proposals is by adding “pitch videos”. In the process, they students practice communication skills and build support for their ideas.

Making voting easy

In-person Participatory Budgeting voting is tedious, costly, and error managing the vote: you have to create, print, distribute, collect, verify, and tabulate paper ballots.

FirstRoot makes voting easy and fun! As shown in this video, the voting ballot displays proposals, the available budget, and reactions for seamless voting experience!

Frequently Asked Questions

The program can be configured to align with classroom and school needs. Typically, more students and larger budgets take longer to execute.

Classroom programs tend to take one to four weeks.

Schoolwide programs tend to take one to three months.

Teachers or school administrators manage the actual budget outside of the app. ​

Teachers should make certain that students have access to all financial information associated with implementing the winning proposals, as this builds trust by demonstrating that the proposals they selected are purchased and implemented.​

Teachers and school administrators set the policies, such as the maximum cost of a single proposal or requiring that proposals be for capital improvements. ​

Student leaders and teachers review all proposals to ensure they meet school guidelines. Teachers also control which students can participate. ​

Students and teachers jointly determine who can vote. We advocate that voting is limited to students because this reinforces the goal of putting the students in charge of the budget. ​

A voting ballot will contain between 3 and 15 proposals. ​Students can vote to fund any combination of proposals provided the total costs for the selected proposals is less than or equal to the available budget. ​

FirstRoot provides extensive materials to help all stakeholders learn about our app and Participatory Budgeting.

Find more information on our resources and toolkits pages.

Most PB programs are run as a school-wide program. ​

Research has shown that: ​

  • PB in schools increases civic engagement, even when there is not a formal curriculum driving the process [1, Bioscience High School in Phoenix, AZ].​
  • PB in schools and the community influences budget priorities [2, New York, NY]​
  • “Most scholars and participants of PB’s agree that one of their most important bene- fits is the deepening of the exercise of democracy” [3, United Nations]​

[1] Cohen, M., D. Schugurensky and A. Wiek (2015). Citizenship Education through Participatory Budgeting: the Case of Bioscience High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Curriculum and Teaching, Volume 30, Number 2, pp. 5-26.


[3] 72 Frequently Asked Questions about Participatory Budgeting, UN-HABIT

We have implemented several policies to ensure children are safe:

  • Student submitted content is automatically reviewed to identify and remove offensive or potentially offensive images or language. ​
  • Students can flag content for review by teachers. ​
  • Offensive content can be removed by teachers. ​

FirstRoot was created by extremely experienced software developers with backgrounds in information and data security, app development, and hosted software development. ​

  • All data is stored in an encrypted format in Amazon Web Services​
  • Access to the service is controlled through SSL (Secure Sockets Layer)​
  • FirstRoot is FERPA and GDPR compliant​

Not yet. ​

FirstRoot is not yet COPPA compliant and cannot be used with children under the age of 13.​ FirstRoot expects to complete our COPPA compliance in 2021.​

Customer testimonials

Learn what teachers have to say about their PB cycles using the FirstRoot App!

More Videos Here

Get started with PB

New to Participatory Budgeting? Already an expert?

Either way, we got you covered!

I’m new – Help me get ready
I’m an expert – take me to your app!