Institute for the Study of Civic Values
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Civic Values Campaign
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Strong Communities
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Civic Values Blog

The Civic Values Campaign
To Promote the General Welfare

Crime. Blight. Truancy. Ethnic and racial divisions. Residents not getting involved. These are all serious ongoing concerns of people working to improve Philadelphia that often define whether we think a neighborhood is a desirable or difficult place to live. All of them reflect a neighborhood's civic values-- the values that we share as citizens and as members of a community. That's why we form civic groups--to strengthen civic values. And if a neighborhood has a serious problem in one area--crime, as an example--the chances are that other civic values in the neighborhood are also under attack.

 How strong are the civic values on your block and in your neighborhood? Do people obey the law? Do they respect one another, regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic circumstance?    Do young people meet their responsibilities in school and in the community? What is the level of citizen participation in the neighborhood? How many people vote?

These are all expressions of a neighborhood's civic values-- the values that we  share as citizens. They have been  central concerns of block leaders and community groups in seeking support from the City, the School District, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the federal government to improve our quality of life. We believe that fulfilling these civic values defines the social contract that exists between 'we the people' and every level of government. It is what we expect government to do and what we are prepared to do in return.

Up to now, however, we have been addressing these problems in isolation, even though they are integrally connected with one another. What we need is an integrated strategy to address all of them simultaneously.

To meet this need, the Institute for the Study of Civic Values has launched a 10 point Civic Values Campaign, aimed at helping neighborhoods work with the City and the School District to  strengthen our civic values. We are building this campaign through PhillyBlocks--our growing email  network of block captains-- and with a broad cross-section of community groups from all parts of the city

One of the most important goals of this Campaign is to develop a new kind of neighborhood agenda--a Civic Values Agenda. A Civic Values Agenda focuses on developing short and long-term strategies for strengthening  neighborhood civic values. How can the neighborhood build unity among the residents, expand citizen participation, promote youth civic responsibility, reduce blight and crime, and increase voter participation? These are the concerns addressed by the  Civic Values Agenda. It establishes the benchmarks needed to measure progress along the way.

  If you are interested in working with us to develop a Civic Values Agenda and a Civic Values Campaign for your neighborhood, fill out the form below and we will add you to the email list that we have established for participants in the Campaign.


Civic Values Campaign
 Institute for the Study of Civic Values

1. Build Strong CommunitiesB Strengthen human relations,  promote harmony, and improve the condition of all racial, ethnic, religious and economic groups in the community, within the framework of civic values set  forth in the Preamble to the Constitution: to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity,  promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.

2. Broaden citizen participation-Increase the number of  people who  participate in organizations that strengthen blocks,  neighborhoods, schools, and the community as a whole.

3. Encourage Community Service-Expand the number of people at all ages who perform community service, especially for our schools, after-school programs, and  people in need.

4. Promote Youth Civic Responsibility-Work to insure that young people attend school, obey the law,  and respect the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

5. Support Civic Education-Build support for expanded civic education in schools, colleges, and adult education that creates a deeper understanding of the country and of all groups in our communities, helps citizens debate public policy within the framework of America's civic values,  and conveys the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for effective participation in the democratic process.

6. Improve Neighborhood AppearanceBDemand effective enforcement of zoning and building codes, especially for violations that harm neighborhoods and communities. and support ongoing efforts to reduce blight..

7. Uphold the LawBReduce crime in neighborhoods and throughout the community.

8. Reduce  Recidivism-Support comprehensive programs that help repeat juvenile and adult criminal offenders become responsible citizens.

9. Secure Needed Public Resources-Work to insure that all levels of government have the resources needed to fulfill the obligation of government "to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."

10. Expand Voter Participation-Increase the number of people who vote in every election and strengthen the accountability of government and the schools to the citizens whom they serve.


FIll out this form if you want to develop a Civic Values Campaign in your neighborhood


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What will the priorities of your Civic Values Campaign Be?




[Values] [Community] [Participation] [Service] [Youth] [Civic Education] [Blight] [Crime] [Recidivism] [Resources] [Voting]