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Truth Initiative Wins Inaugural Clarence B. Jones Impact Award

Truth Initiative(R)  has been named the inaugural winner of the Clarence B. Jones Impact Award, an honor from The Communications Network that recognizes and celebrates the impact of transformative communications campaigns in the social sector. The award is sponsored by The Heinz Endowments.

Truth Initiative, a nonprofit public health organization dedicated to making tobacco use a thing of the past, launched its truth(R) campaign in the early 2000s to reduce teen smoking and has sustained it with incredible success:  rates of teen smoking have declined from 23% in 2000 to less than 6% in 2017. The effort represents an integrated, concerted communications campaign that has been transformational in American society.

The Jones Award, the first of its kind to honor impact created by foundation or nonprofit communications work, is a new program from The Communications Network, a leadership network that comprises some of the most influential and consequential social sector organizations across the globe.

The Jones Impact Award is named after Dr. Clarence B. Jones, a hero of the Civil Rights Movement and former speechwriter and legal counsel to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who helped draft the iconic “I Have A Dream” speech delivered at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington in 1963.

The award will be given annually to a nonprofit or foundation that exhibits innovative thinking, extraordinary impact, and game-changing contributions to the field of communications for good. By showcasing what impact looks like and how it’s achieved, The Communications Network hopes to create a resource for social sector communicators to make the case for the importance of communications at all levels of their organizations.

The judging panel unanimously selected Truth Initiative as the winner based on criteria that accounted for significance, effectiveness, innovation, and leadership in social sector communications.

“Dr. Jones shares the values of The Communications Network and is a paragon of what communications for good can mobilize,” said Network Board member and Jones Award judge Jade Floyd, of The Case Foundation. “We created the Jones Award to honor him and recognize the game-changing effect strategic communications can have across the globe. Impact is at the core of this award.”

Truth Initiative’s work embodies the spirit of the Jones Impact Award because it catalyzed a movement through coalition building, was creative and sustained, and achieved meaningful change through communications.

Watch the replay of the award introduction at The Communications Network’s 2017 annual conference, ComNet17, or browse the photos, which are free for reuse with attribution to The Communications Network.

“Truth Initiative has achieved remarkable success in helping a generation of young people to reject tobacco,” said Jesse Salazar, The Communications Network Board Chair. “They deployed the latest and best communications techniques to shift the way people think about tobacco use and its health impacts. Their example shows how professional communicators can drive the world toward positive change. We are proud they are the inaugural recipients of the Jones Impact Award.”

The judges for the award were:

  • Jesse Salazar, Network Board Chair
  • Jade Floyd, Network Board member and Vice President for Communications at The Case Foundation
  • Ken Weine, Network Board member and Chief Communications Officer at The Metropolitan Museum of Art
  • Alfred Ironside, former Network Board Chair and Vice President for Global Communications at the Ford Foundation
  • Vidya Krishnamurthy, Director of Communications at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • Melanie Newman, Chief Public Engagement and Communications Strategist at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
  • Jennifer Oldham, Program and Communications Officer at The Healing Trust
  • Richard Tate, Vice President of Public Affairs at The California Wellness Foundation

Eric Asche, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at Truth Initiative, will give a keynote address on how truth has successfully built the generation to end smoking, and accept the Jones Award on October 11 in San Francisco at ComNet18, The Communications Network’s annual conference.

The Communications Network is the premier leadership organization for social sector communications professionals. With over 1,400 members from influential and consequential foundations and nonprofits from around the world, we connect leaders seeking to elevate and advance communications for good and promote community, learning and leadership among those working in communications for good.

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