Press release

Launch of Integrity Icon Philadelphia 2020

13 February, Washington DC – Accountability Lab is pleased to announce the launch of Integrity Icon Philadelphia, a campaign to celebrate the city’s most exemplary civil servants that is being run in partnership with The Philadelphia Citizen, an innovative non-profit media outlet that combines solutions-oriented journalism with specific calls for civic action and WURD Radio, the only African-American owned and operated talk radio station in Pennsylvania (and one of only three remaining in the country).

The initiative aims to inspire a national movement—led by civil society, on the ground, online and through the media—to celebrate, encourage and connect honest public servants.

Integrity Icon is a global campaign by Accountability Lab that is powered by citizens in search of honest government officials. It aims to generate debate around the idea of integrity and demonstrate the importance of honesty and personal responsibility. We hope to inspire a new generation to be more effective public servants.

In Philadelphia, the campaign began with an announcement at the Philadelphia Citizen’s “Ideas We Can Steal” conference in December 2019. This will be followed by a formal press launch in the next month, at which point we open up nominations for the most honest government officials. Anyone living in Philadelphia can nominate an Icon through an online form. We expect hundreds of nominations. Our team will narrow down the field to the top 30 based on a set of agreed criteria; and a panel of independent judges will help us select the top 5 Icons.

After in-depth background checks we will film these 5 winners and put their films out on social media, TV and audio versions on radio; and set up a voting system online and through social media for Philaldephians to vote for their favorites. For several weeks, with an army of volunteers, we will conduct outreach throughout the city—including pop-up integrity film showings and events in schools and universities. At the end of the voting period we will host a large, public “Integrity Summit & Gala” to discuss the importance of the issue and celebrate the Integrity Icons in red-carpet style in front of local officials, VIPs, the media and the public. Subsequently, we will work to connect the Icons, supporting them to share ideas, collaborate and continue to push for integrity within their institutions.

The Philadelphia Citizen and WURD have devoted stories and programming to solutions aimed at improving the quality of public services for all residents of Philadelphia. With Accountability Lab, the aim is to bring together a broad, diverse group of organizations and media across the city to establish a network of support for Integrity Icon. Through their daily operations, the organizations will promote a city-wide conversation around integrity and accountability in a way that will allow for sustainability well beyond 2020.

Integrity Icon has grown dramatically since it began almost 6 years ago in Nepal. The show is now seen by millions of people across nine countries on three continents (read more about Integrity Icon in The Citizen, The Economist, and the BBC). The winning Icons have now gone on to lead important reform processes in their countries based on the trust and credibility generated through the campaign; and we are now working with them to expand their integrity networks, build their skills and develop coalitions for change. There is a great deal that the US can learn from experiences of this sort from elsewhere around the world.

For further information, visit Nominate a public servant today!


Shadman – [email protected]

About The Philadelphia Citizen

The Philadelphia Citizen (Citizen) is the only nonprofit media outlet that pairs solutions-oriented journalism with specific calls for civic action and thoughtful programming aimed at moving the Philadelphia region forward.

About WURD Radio

WURD Radio is the only African-American owned and operated talk radio station in Pennsylvania (and one of only three remaining in the country). Started in 2002, over the past 17 years WURD has evolved into a multi-media, multi-platform communications company that reaches deeply into the Black community through radio, events, digital and social media.