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About Us

The Committee of Seventy was established in 1904 to combat corruption in Philadelphia, playing a major role in the adoption of civil service reforms and the passage of the 1919 and 1951 Home Rule Charters. A nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, Seventy does not endorse candidates or represent any special interests.

 

Since, Seventy has radically transformed itself from being just an election watchdog to a bolder and more comprehensive good government group. The investment in new executive and Board leadership has helped bolster the City’s only independent good government organization and allowed us to permanently change Philadelphia’s political culture.

During 2005-2010, Seventy led the fight to defend campaign financing limits, a fight that went all the way to the Supreme Court thanks to a lawsuit initiated by Seventy, in 2007-08. Our war against pay-to-play politics in Philadelphia helped to turn the ideas of better government and fair elections into a movement. In 2020, Seventy played an integral role in the successful administration of the presidential election amidst a global pandemic through information campaigns and supporting local election officials.

2020 Impact Report
Learn more about how Seventy delivered democracy in 2020 through our impact report

Seventy continues to drive toward its founding objectives from 1904

  • Open up and improve the voting process and our political culture.

  • Elect honest, capable people to public office and help them make government work better.

  • Engage citizens in the process of making important decisions about our future. 

 

Our vision is better government citizens can trust.

Mission
The Committee of Seventy is a nonpartisan civic leadership organization that advances representative, ethical and effective government in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania through citizen engagement and public policy advocacy.
Vision
We envision our City and Commonwealth with a vibrant local democracy and trustworthy government.

Values

Integrity
We believe government, and those who serve it, must prove worthy of public trust and that it works best when the public interest is prioritized over personal ambition and party. Strong institutions with safeguards against corruption, fraud and abuse of power are necessary to protect the trust of the public. However, the character and judgement of those who serve in government are no less important. Transparency, as well as a free and independent media, are essential to maintain this trust, guaranteeing that decisions and actions in government are subject to public scrutiny.
The Committee of Seventy gives voice to higher expectations for the behavior and performance of public officials, and for how government should operate. We serve as an outspoken critic and work with local journalists to inform the public and hold government accountable. We seek stronger ethics, campaign finance, transparency, and lobbying laws in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, as well as the means to ensure those laws are enforced.
Representation
We believe government should be representative of and responsive to the people from whom its power is derived. The Committee of Seventy believes that a strong representative government exists when the processes through which we choose and petition our public officials are open, free and fair. Achieving this means that all eligible voters can cast ballots in secure and well-run elections, political boundaries are drawn without manipulation to advantage one group over another, and well-funded special interests are unable to overpower the public interest.
The Committee of Seventy runs a wide range of programs and initiatives to strengthen our local democracy. We work tirelessly to inform citizens, cultivate a culture of civic participation, and foster dialogue to spur more open and vigorous politics. Through projects like, Draw the Lines, WeVote, 20 by Seventy, and our online Voter Guide and Digital Ballot Tool, we aim to put the resources needed to maintain accountable and responsive government in the hands of voters. Meanwhile, initiatives like the Election Ambassador Corps prepare the next generation of citizens to assume their responsibility as stewards of local democracy.
Effective Governance
We believe government is most effective when it functions as an efficient, modern and responsible public resource. The Committee of Seventy believes that to be good stewards of citizen resources, government should strive to be both effective and efficient in its operations. Government, we believe, owes it to citizens to get the right things done well. This requires identifying and implementing best practices and reforms that improve government operations and that leverage data to drive results and ensure transparency.
The Committee of Seventy works to identify solutions and promising practices that promote more effective and efficient governance. We share these practices with elected officials, encourage public debate around evidence-based policies and advocate for reform. From antiquated agencies to 21st-century open data initiatives, we look for opportunities to remove inefficiencies, enhance customer service and improve performance. Working with public officials, civic leaders and partner organizations, we seek higher standards for how government should operate.