Truth Initiative

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Truth Initiative
Truth Initiative logo.svg
MottoInspiring lives free from smoking, vaping and nicotine
Formation1999; 22 years ago (1999)
TypeNonprofit organization
PurposeTobacco control, community outreach, research, smoking cessation, public health
HeadquartersWashington, D.C., U.S.
  • United States
Key people
Robin Koval, CEO and president Mike Moore, chair, board of directors
133 (2017)
Formerly called
American Legacy Foundation (1999-2015)

Truth Initiative (formerly the American Legacy Foundation or Legacy)[1][2] is a nonprofit tobacco control organization "dedicated to achieving a culture where all youth and young adults reject tobacco."[3] It was established in March 1999 as a result of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement between the attorneys general of 46 states, the District of Columbia and five United States territories, and the tobacco industry.[4] Truth Initiative is best known for its youth smoking prevention campaign.[5][6][7] Its other primary aims include conducting tobacco control research and policy studies, organizing community and youth engagement programs and developing digital cessation and prevention products, including through revenue-generating models.[8] The organization changed its name from the American Legacy Foundation to Truth Initiative on September 8, 2015, to better align with its Truth campaign.[9] As of 2016, the organization had more than $957 million in assets[10] and a staff of 133 based primarily in its Washington, D.C., office.


Truth Initiative was founded in 1999 as a result of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement (MSA). The MSA was announced in 1998, resolving the lawsuits brought by 46 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and five territories against the major U.S. cigarette companies, to recover state Medicaid and other costs from caring for sick smokers. The four other states settled separately. The tobacco industry agreed to pay the states billions of dollars in perpetuity, making the MSA the then-largest civil litigation settlement in U.S. history. The states directed that a portion of the money they received from the settlement should be used to establish a national public health foundation dedicated to prevent youth smoking and helping smokers quit: the American Legacy Foundation, now Truth Initiative.[11]

In 2018, the Truth Initiative partnered with Office of National Drug Control Policy and the Ad Council to combat opioid addiction.[12][13]


Truth Campaign[edit]

Truth Initiative's signature program is its Truth campaign, a youth smoking prevention mass media public education program that has been widely credited with contributing to a significant drop in teen smoking.[14] In 2000, 23% of American 8th, 10th and 12th graders smoked. As of 2016, that figure was 6%.[15] The campaign exposes tobacco industry practices as well as the health effects and social consequences of smoking.[16]

Truth Initiative Schroeder Institute[edit]

Researchers in the Truth Initiative Schroeder Institute publish dozens of peer-reviewed research articles each year with the goal of identifying methods to minimize the harms of tobacco use, measure the effectiveness of interventions and identify best practices for tobacco control.[17] Research is also done to assess the Truth campaign's efforts, both pre-and post-market, including the use of the longitudinal Truth Longitudinal Cohort (TLC) survey of more than 10,000 young people and a continuous tracking study to assess campaign awareness and message receptivity.[18]

In the early 2000s the American Legacy Foundation (as the Truth Initiative was then known) gave around $10 million of the settlement funds it managed to the University of California San Francisco (USCF) to help it formalize and expand the collection of internal tobacco industry documents that its library already hosted; the collection was then named the Legacy Tobacco Documents Library.[19][20] As of May 2017, the library contained 14.7 million internal documents (nearly 89 million pages) created by major tobacco companies related to their advertising, manufacturing, marketing, sales and scientific research activities.[21]

Community and Youth Engagement[edit]

Truth Initiative provides individuals, coalitions, and organizations information and methods to reduce tobacco use in their communities. The organization trains and educates young people interested in tobacco control and partners with community-serving organizations to reduce tobacco use. This includes a grant program for community colleges and historically black colleges and universities to create tobacco-free campuses.[22]

Examples of youth activism programs include:

  • National Summit on Youth Activism: A training program for high school students that provides activism strategies, media training and approaches to community engagement
  • Youth Activism Fellowship: A year-long training program for young adults that prepares participants to carry out a tobacco control project in his or her community

These community engagement programs are often an "on the ground" extension of the Truth campaign's work. Supporters of the campaign are called upon to support other anti-tobacco issues, such as a 2017 rally outside a Walgreens shareholders meeting in New York that was organized to pressure the pharmacy's board of directors to stop selling tobacco in its stores.[23]


The innovations center within Truth Initiative designs, builds and markets digital smoking cessation and prevention products that are centered around online social networks, text messaging and web and mobile applications. Any revenue generated by the innovations programs helps support other work at the organization.[24]

Examples of these programs include:

  • BecomeAnEX: Created in 2008, BecomeAnEX is a free online resource for individuals who want to quit smoking.[25] Its website hosts a community forum and features blogs written by other smokers and ex-smokers that discuss quit strategies, challenges and successes. In addition to the online community, the site offers cessation tools, counseling, medication information and other cessation support services.[26]
  • EX Program: Launched in 2017 in collaboration with Mayo Clinic, the EX Program is a digital quit smoking program based on BecomeAnEx that health systems, health plans and employers can purchase and offer to their employees and members.[27]
  • This Is Quitting: Designed for young adults, This Is Quitting is a mobile app that relays evidence-based text messages and other user-generated content to assist users in the process of quitting smoking.[28]



Truth Initiative is led by a senior leadership team with representatives from each of its functional program areas. Headed by CEO and President Robin Koval, this team includes:[29]

  • Eric Asche, chief marketing officer
  • Derrick A. Butts, chief information officer
  • Dave Dobbins, chief operating officer
  • Amanda L. Graham, chief of innovations
  • Tricia Kenney, chief communications officer
  • Anthony O'Toole, chief financial & investment officer
  • Anna M. Spriggs, chief of human resources & administration
  • Amy Taylor, chief of community engagement
  • Donna Vallone, chief research officer, Truth Initiative Schroeder Institute
  • Robert Falk, general counsel[30]

Board of Directors[31][edit]

Name Position Role Location
Robin Koval CEO and President Director Ex Officio Truth Initiative Washington, D.C.
Mike Moore Chair Principal, Mike Moor Law Firm, LLC Flowood, MS
Doug Peterson[32] Treasurer Nebraska Attorney General Lincoln, NE
Georges C. Benjamin, MD Director Executive Director, American Public Health Association Washington, D.C.
Nancy Brown[33][34] Vice Chair CEO, American Heart Association Dallas, TX
Herb Conaway, MD Director Member, New Jersey General Assembly Delran, NJ
Mike DeWine Director Governor of Ohio Columbus, OH
James (Jim) Dunnigan Director Representative, Utah State Legislature Salt Lake City, UT
Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH Director Commissioner, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene New York City, NY
Steve Oyer Director President, i[x] Investments New York City, NY
Josh Stein Director Attorney General of North Carolina Raleigh, NC
Gina Raimondo Director Governor of Rhode Island Providence, RI
Giana Darville Youth Board Liaison Oakwood University Alum Memphis, TN
J'Pierre Bolling Youth Board Liaison Georgia State University Brooklyn, NY

Awards and Recognition[edit]

In addition to awards for its Truth campaign, including being named among the top 10 ad campaigns of the 21st century,[35] Truth Initiative has also been recognized with the following:

  • 2017 Alliance for Workplace Excellence Health & Wellness Seal of Approval[36]
  • 2017 honoree, Center for Positive Organizations' Positive Business Project[37]
  • 2017 Inc. magazine top 10 Washington, D.C. companies with the coolest perks[38]
  • 2016 North American Effie Index top five most effective marketer[39]
  • 2013 Telly Awards Online Video Silver Telly and Bronze Telly[40]
  • 2012 PRWeek Awards In-House PR Team of the Year honorable mention[41]
  • 2012 Nonprofit PR Awards Annual Publication or Brochure honorable mention[42]
  • 2012 PR Daily Awards Best Annual Report (Print) honorable mention[43]
  • 2012 Hermes Creative Awards Platinum Award - Publications/Annual Report and PR Campaign[44]
  • 2010 Communicator Awards Award of Excellence - Integrated Campaign[45]
  • 2005 Latino Marketing Awards - Public Relations Public Education Program[46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations
  2. ^ PR Week (US) (March 5, 2007): p06.
  3. ^ "Our Mission". Truth Initiative. Retrieved 2017-07-03.
  4. ^ "Inside the hidden world of thefts, scams and phantom purchases at the nation's nonprofits". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-07-03.
  5. ^ Farrelly, Matthew C.; Nonnemaker, James; Davis, Kevin C.; Hussin, Altijani (2009-05-01). "The Influence of the National truth Campaign on Smoking Initiation". American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 36 (5): 379–384. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2009.01.019. ISSN 0749-3797.
  6. ^ Holtgrave, David R.; Wunderink, Katherine A.; Vallone, Donna M.; Healton, Cheryl G. (2009-05-01). "Cost–Utility Analysis of the National truth® Campaign to Prevent Youth Smoking". American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 36 (5): 385–388. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2009.01.020. ISSN 0749-3797.
  7. ^ Joe Stephens and Mary Pat Flaherty for the Washington Post. October 26, 2013 Inside the hidden world of thefts, scams and phantom purchases at the nation’s nonprofits
  8. ^ "Our Mission". Truth Initiative. Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  9. ^ "How The Truth Campaign Plans To End Youth Smoking Once And For All". Fast Company. 2015-08-13. Retrieved 2017-07-06.
  10. ^ "2016 Annual Report: How Truth Initiative is working toward a tobacco-free future" (PDF). Truth Initiative. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Master Settlement Agreement" (PDF). National Association of Attorneys General. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  12. ^ "Expanding our mission with an opioid prevention campaign". Truth Initiative. 2018-06-06. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  13. ^ "White House launches opioid education campaign that targets young people using shock value". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  14. ^ "Monitoring the Future National Survey Results on Drug Use 1975-2016" (PDF). Monitoring the Future. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Podcast: Using Tobacco Money to Stamp Out Youth Smoking". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  16. ^ "Advocacy Group Shows How Rebranding Can Rebuild Momentum". The Chronicle of Philanthropy. 2016-01-07. Retrieved 2017-07-04.
  17. ^ "Our Mission". Truth Initiative. Retrieved 2017-07-05.
  18. ^ "How The Truth Campaign Plans To End Youth Smoking Once And For All". Fast Company. 2015-08-13. Retrieved 2017-07-05.
  19. ^ Hurt, RD; Ebbert, JO; Muggli, ME; Lockhart, NJ; Robertson, CR (May 2009). "Open doorway to truth: legacy of the Minnesota tobacco trial". Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 84 (5): 446–56. doi:10.1016/S0025-6196(11)60563-6. PMC 2676127. PMID 19411441.
  20. ^ "Press release: American legacy foundation's $15 million gift creates permanent home for tobacco industry documents at UCSF". University of California - San Francisco. January 2001. Archived from the original on April 9, 2005.
  21. ^ "Legacy Tobacco Documents Library". Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  22. ^ "community and youth engagement". Truth Initiative. 2015-08-27. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  23. ^ "Group Calls on Walgreens to End Sales of Tobacco Products". TWC News. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  24. ^ "Our Mission". Truth Initiative. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  25. ^ "Do smoking cessation online communities actually help people quit? - On Health". On Health. 2016-12-15. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  26. ^ Cutrona, Sarah (2016-12-15). "Do smoking cessation online communities actually help people quit? - On Health". BioMed Central. Retrieved 2017-06-10.
  27. ^ "Digital quit-smoking program reduces the burden of smoking for employers". Truth Initiative. 2017-05-10. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  28. ^ "Innovations". Truth Initiative. 2017-05-05. Retrieved 2017-06-23.
  29. ^ "About Us". Truth Initiative. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  30. ^ "Robert Falk '90 Named General Counsel of Truth Initiative". Retrieved 2018-08-22.
  31. ^ "Board of Directors". Truth Initiative. 2017-10-31. Retrieved 2018-04-09.
  32. ^ "NAAG | Representational Assignments". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  33. ^ "Nancy Brown | Big Data in Biomedicine Conference | Stanford Medicine". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  34. ^ "Public Health Summit - Speaker: Nancy Brown". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  35. ^ Rodriguez, Ashley (12 January 2015). "Top 15 Ad Campaigns of the 21st Century - Advertising Age". Advertising Age. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  36. ^ Alliance for Workplace Excellence press release (26 April 2017). "Alliance for Workplace Excellence Announces Annual Award Winners" (PDF). Excellent Workplace. Retrieved 10 June 2017.[dead link]
  37. ^ "The Truth Initiative". Positive Business Project. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  38. ^ Popomaronis, Tom (28 March 2017). "Feast Your Eyes on Some of the Coolest Office Perks That D.C. Has to Offer". Inc Magazine. Archived from the original on 2018-05-16. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  39. ^ "Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America & Grey Canada Win Grand Effie at the 2016 North American Effie Awards". Effie Worldwide website. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  40. ^ "34th Annual Telly Awards 2013 Online Video Bronze Winners". Telly Awards. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  41. ^ "PRWeek Awards Finalists 2012". PRWeek. Archived from the original on 2015-05-21. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  42. ^ "2012 Nonprofit PR Awards: Annual Publication/Brochure - PR News". PR News. 2012-03-15. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  43. ^ "Congrats to the winners of the 2012 PR Daily Awards". PR Daily. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2018.
  44. ^ "2012 Platinum Winners". Hermes Creative Awards. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  45. ^ "Winners Gallery: 2010 Integrated Campaign". Communicator Awards. Retrieved 2018-04-05.
  46. ^ "2005 Latino Marketing Award Winners". HispanicAd. Retrieved 2018-04-05.

External links[edit]