Launching Shake the Table: Community-led accountability for city systems

Resolve Philly
Reporters speak with entrepreneurs at the 2019 event, Funding the Hustle.

PHILADELPHIA – Today, Resolve Philly launched Shake the Table, a long-term community engagement and reporting initiative that will hold elected officials accountable to the concerns of Philadelphians who have been systematically excluded from decision-making in our city. The initiative is in partnership with the Scattergood Foundation and will focus on how the next mayor, and the next class of councilmembers, will assess and reform the city systems with which Philadelphia residents come into most frequent contact.

There are a multitude of known and unknown challenges in how Philadelphians navigate through departments like Licenses and Inspections, 311, Behavioral Health, and more. Over the next year, Resolve Philly and Shake the Table partners will use deep community engagement to surface stories, pain points, and potential solutions for these areas of city government. This, in turn, will power and inform 2023 election coverage and public conversations with candidates as well as debates. By situating community narratives and experiences front and center for candidates, Philadelphia’s next class of leadership will be compelled to explain their plans to improve these departments. Ultimately, Resolve Philly will also develop a digital tool for the tracking of progress of candidate promises, ensuring accountability at least through the next Mayor’s first term in office.

The health and well-being of our city’s communities is inextricably tied to residents’ abilities to access city government and its services. Shake the Table recognizes that voters should be empowered to cast their ballots for Philadelphia’s next leadership based, in part, on which candidates plan to address these core issues. There are many organizations doing exceptional work around voter information and engagement, civic literacy, and more. Shake the Table will work to build partnerships and alliances, intent on achieving the most collaborative impact as possible. Resolve is excited about initial collaboration with Better Civics and The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia and is looking forward to building out relationships with other organizations across Philly, from neighborhood organizations to city institutions.


To launch this powerful initiative, Resolve is excited to offer three initial Shake the Table engagement opportunities:


“Secret Shoppers”: We’ll be launching our own “secret shopper” program to engage Philadelphians who are currently navigating city systems to better understand the successes and barriers of interacting with city government. Be it getting litter removed from their street, accessing a city resource, or getting the right license from L&I — Resolve Philly wants to hear from you. We will work directly with you to document your experiences so we can record the narrative of what Philadelphians experience with the city. All participants will be compensated for their time.  

Sound OFF’s: Resolve Philly’s Community Engagement team is organizing an ongoing series of small community conversations that will provide a space for people to “sound off” about their struggles and solutions for interacting with the city. These facilitated conversations will surface stories about experiences, in a way that will allow Resolve and its partners to build up data to better understand their experiences.

Public Newsroom Kick-off event: Resolve is excited to invite any interested members of the public to join us  at the Discovery Center on April 5, from 6-8 p.m. This event will be an opportunity to engage with Resolve Philly staff, learn more about Sound OFF’s and the “Secret Shopper'' Program and meet reporters from Resolve newsroom Partners — media outlets participating in the Broke in Philly reporting collaborative — who will be covering the 2023 election. There will be music and food. Attendees can ask questions of journalists who cover city government, share experiences relating to their trials and tribulations with city systems, and share their hopes for how local reporting can better inform an engaged citizenry. For more information on this event please go to the attached link.

If you are interested in being a secret shopper, participating in a Sound OFF, partnering with Resolve Philly on Shake the Table, or want more information about the initiative, please contact