PHILADELPHIA – December 7, 2022 – Today the Lenfest Institute announced that the Committee of Seventy would be joining the “Every Voice, Every Vote” coalition in 2023. This group of over 50 media and community organizations will work to put Philadelphia voters and key issues at the center of the city’s elections for mayor and city council in May and November next year.
The “Every Voice, Every Vote” coalition will serve every neighborhood in Philadelphia with nonpartisan, collaborative, issues-oriented journalism; gatherings with candidates; voter guides; listening sessions; and more. The initiative is designed to help make the electoral process more accessible and to make certain that every Philadelphian has the information and tools they need to participate in a system that is intended to support all.
The coalition, which is supported by the William Penn Foundation, the Lenfest Institute, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and other individual contributors, has granted $1.5 million to 52 local media and community partners. The initiative is one of the largest collaborative journalism and community engagement efforts ever launched for election coverage in Philadelphia.
“The Committee of Seventy is thrilled to be a grantee of the Lenfest Institute's Every Voice, Every Vote initiative,” said Al Schmidt, the President & CEO of the Committee of Seventy. “In 2023, Philadelphians will choose the city's 100th mayor and their representatives in City Council. This is a golden opportunity for residents to take ownership of Philadelphia's future. C70 is excited to amplify the issues that matter to voters in neighborhoods across the city and make them the focus of the 2023 campaign.
The Committee of Seventy (C70) will receive significant financial support from the Lenfest Institute to promote its WeVote program, expand its “How Philly Works” resources, and recruit poll workers in all corners of the city, including neighborhoods that have historically been marginalized and underserved.
C70 launched WeVote in 2020 to deliver programs and materials to businesses, civic groups, college campuses, and community organizations. People then receive voter information from sources they trust. In just two years, over 120+ organizations in Philadelphia and across the Commonwealth have signed on – C70 will bring those resources to Philly neighborhood organizations who have yet to sign on.
WeVote info sessions will provide concise, clear updates on Pennsylvania’s oft-misrepresented mail-in voting law, how to register to vote and complete a ballot, C70’s online voter guide and Build Your Own Ballot tool, how to get involved in the election beyond voting, and community discussions on why each individual’s vote matters.
C70 also recruits and trains thousands of poll workers in Philadelphia. Many of the city’s 8,000+ election board positions are at-risk of going unfilled each election without extensive outreaching and training.
“Every Voice, Every Vote is one of Philadelphia’s most significant philanthropic investments ever in local journalism and civic engagement. Our work is focused on catalyzing the citizens of Philadelphia, from every neighborhood and community, to lift their voices and determine their own future,” said Lenfest Institute Head of Philadelphia Programs Shawn Mooring, who is leading Every Voice, Every Vote.
C70 envisions these programs as part of a larger campaign to improve the operations of city government. The organization anticipates, come the country’s 250th birthday celebration in 2026, that its programs will be a model for other cities to reinvigorate how citizens interact with their local government.