July 23, 2021
PHILADELPHIA, PA - The Committee of Seventy, Pennsylvania’s long standing nonpartisan advocate for better government, announced today that David Thornburgh, Seventy’s CEO since December 2014, will step aside as CEO in January 2022. He will assume a new role with Seventy as Senior Advisor to help guide C70’s flagship reform efforts like fair redistricting and opening Pennsylvania’s primary elections to independent voters.
“The Committee of Seventy is stronger, more strategic, and more influential after seven years of David’s tenure as CEO,” said the organization’s current Chair, former Phillies executive and US Attorney Mike Stiles. “The Board and I are incredibly grateful for his strategic vision, superb communications skills, and responsible financial stewardship. We look forward to his continued contributions to Seventy’s work in strengthening our local democracy.”
Said Thornburgh, “I am stepping aside as CEO to focus my energy on two reform issues critical to rebuilding the governing process, as well as to allow me to dedicate more time to guide other similar initiatives. Having taught public policy and leadership at three Pennsylvania universities, I’m also looking to deepen my commitment to the development of the next generation of public leaders.”
Under Thornburgh’s tenure, the Committee of Seventy tripled the use of its nonpartisan online voter education resources, reaching more than a quarter million voters in 2020. The organization supported unprecedented reforms to PA voting laws including online voter registration and the Act 77 election reform package in 2019. Seventy’s statewide Draw the Lines PA mapping competition that Thornburgh created with civic consultant Chris Satullo engaged over 12,000 citizens in the redistricting process, making it clear that citizens will not tolerate partisan gerrymandering and are ready, willing, and able to contribute their voices to the drawing of their own districts. Seventy has also been a key partner in launching the Open Primaries PA coalition advocating for the right of PA’s 900,000 independent voters to participate in primary elections.
By reaching hundreds of thousands of voters through its WeVote education initiative, and by providing support to local election officials, Seventy contributed greatly to the operational success of the 2020 election, perhaps the most consequential election in Seventy’s history. Said Republican Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt “The 2020 election in Philadelphia would not have been the success it was without the Committee of Seventy.”
In the last seven years the organization also increased the diversity of its Board (47% of its 64 Board members are now women and 20% people of color), grew annual revenues and increased its financial reserves.
The Board will begin a search for a new CEO shortly with the goal of having a new leader in place by the beginning of 2022.
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.