In establishing the Award, Bok wrote, "service to others tends to make lives happy and communities prosperous." He believed that "the idea of service as a test of good citizenship should be kept constantly before the minds of the people of Philadelphia."
Since its inception, The Philadelphia Award has recognized the achievements of more than 80 individuals. Its recipients have been some of the most distinguished Philadelphians, including industrialists, educators, lawyers, political figures, scientists, physicians, members of the clergy, social activists, philosophers, musicians, artists, architects and writers.
All are bonded by a shared vision: Make the city and the region more prosperous, efficient and beautiful by enriching, educating, inspiring and caring for those who live there. The Philadelphia Award is administered by a Board of Trustees and carries an honorarium of $25,000.