NEW YORK: The PRSA's failure to meet a financial commitment to its
much-vaunted Kids in a Drug-Free Society (KIDS) program has provoked its
core donor, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to terminate a
dollars 9 million grant.
RWJF has awarded two grants to the PRSA Foundation - the non-profit arm
of the PRSA - since 1998, totaling dollars 2,887,258. The bulk of that
money, over dollars 2.5 million, was given in the grant running from
August 1988 to July 2001.
PRSA did not meet its financial commitment to the program, according to
RWJF. "We did expect some financial support to come through from PRSA
and that did not materialize," said Joan Hollendonner, RWJF's senior
communications officer and KIDS' program officer.
David Grossman, the body's president, would not disclose the exact
amount of the financial commitment, but said that it ran into the
"several hundred thousand dollar" range. The PRSA Foundation was
expected to provide 15% of the operating costs.
Hollendonner claimed that RWJF was not at fault for ceasing the grant
payments, explaining that it never committed to funding KIDS beyond the
previous two grants.
Developed with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the program was
designed to showcase the power of PR on the 50th anniversary of the PRSA
by training parents to talk to their kids about drugs. The campaign was
tested in five markets and the PRSA Foundation was planning a national
But Hollendonner said RWJF was disappointed that more parents had not
completed the training.
Lou Capozzi, CEO of Manning Selvage & Lee and chairman of the board of
KIDS, called the news disappointing but claimed the setback would not
terminate the effort, and that the PRSA could step in to manage a scaled
down version of the campaign.
"We are in a very positive dialogue with the PRSA at the national level
about adopting as much of the KIDS program as an initiative of its own,"
Catherine Bolton, PRSA's president, confirmed that discussions were
taking place concerning the future of KIDS, but no decision has been