Committee of Seventy
||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (May 2014)|
|Purpose||Clean and effective government. Fair Elections. Informed Citizens.|
|Location||1628 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Suite 1002
|Philadelphia and five suburban counties|
President and CEO
The Committee of Seventy is a not-for-profit group that has been holding politicians’ feet to the fire since 1904. Guided by a Board of Directors made up of many of the region’s most respected business, legal and civic leaders, Seventy holds one goal highest – to use its voice and its influence to provoke real government reform in order to attract more residents and businesses to the region.
Seventy is fiercely nonpartisan and never endorses candidates. Whether working quietly behind the scenes or making noise in the media and in its own “How Philly Works” reports on issues affecting Philadelphians, Seventy is fighting for effective and efficient government, fair elections and an honest political culture. Seventy demystifies complex issues, using language that you don’t have to be a wonk to understand. Sometimes, Seventy takes the lead and other times it joins forces with other concerned organizations, but is always taking on tough problems that must be fixed if the region is to prosper.
Seventy fights every day to make Philadelphia a better place to live, work, and do business.
Committee of Seventy was established in 1904 for the express purpose of combating corruption in Philadelphia. From its origins, Seventy’s mission was clear – to rekindle civic concern and involvement in Philadelphia. The organization played a major role in the adoption of civil service reforms and the passage of the 1919 and 1951 Home Rule Charters. Towards the mid- century, Seventy expanded its focus to working on public policy and civic education by undertaking research projects to identify problems in the city and propose solutions, and conducting outreach to educate Philadelphians on local government.
It is fair to say that during the past ten years, Seventy has radically transformed itself from being just an election watchdog to a bolder more comprehensive good government group, due in no small measure to the introduction of new executive and Board leadership.
That investment helped resurrect the City’s only independent watchdog and allowed Seventy to reinvigorate itself to change permanently 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. The war against pay-to-play politics in Philadelphia helped to turn the ideas of better government and fair elections into a movement. Seventy continues to be the go-to spokesperson for trustworthy background and analysis on issues related to Philadelphia’s political culture and its government.
Today, Seventy fights relentlessly for clean and effective government, fair elections, and better informed citizens, all of which are intimately intertwined with the quality of life for the region’s residents and businesses.
The name comes from the Bible. According to the organization's website, "Chronicling the Israelites’ journey through the desert, Exodus tells of seventy elders who were appointed to assist Moses in the governance of the people. In 1904, this Committee of Seventy was so named to represent an analogous function: to be the ethical backbone of a city forgetting its conscience." The references appear in Exodus 24:1-9, in which God instructs Moses how to proceed once Israel accepts the Covenant: "And he said unto Moses, Come up unto the LORD, thou, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel; and worship ye afar off." — Exodus 24:1.
Organization & Leadership
Committee of Seventy has 6 full-time staff supported by 4-6 interns.
Michael Carbone - Senior Vice President, TD Bank Group and Regional President for TD Bank’s Metro PA/NJ Market - serves as Chair of the Board of Directors.
Zack Stalberg, former editor of the Philadelphia Daily News, was named President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Committee of Seventy in 2005. He has broadened Seventy’s mission, brought it new life and helped to attract a diverse governing board made up of many of the region’s most principled and influential individuals.
Seventy is the go-to-organization for a steady stream of timely, trustworthy information on issues related to Philadelphia’s government and political culture. Seventy's website is a great resource for those wanting to learn about issues affecting Philadelphia's regional government and who want to become more civically involved.
The Committee of Seventy is a non-profit organization that depends on charitable donations to continue fighting for a better more honest government.
- Beckert, Sven: "Democracy and its Discontents: Contesting Suffrage Rights in Gilded Age New York" in Past and Present (February 2002), pp. 114–155.
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