Push to parents: Drug Partnership raises its profile

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Faced with the possibility of funding cutbacks in the White House anti-drug effort, The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is looking for a stronger identity and dialing up fund-raising efforts.

The group plans to expand its role with a major ad campaign next year, a new logo, a new Web site launching this winter and its first money-raising push. The campaign will be targeted at adults and aims to raise the profile of the Partnership, which, although it does produce its own public service advertising, has as its biggest role the task of coordinating creative from outside ad agencies for the White House Office for National Drug Control Policy.


"We want an overarching aspirational campaign," said Stephen J. Pasierb, partnership president-CEO. "We are going to redirect our firepower onto one campaign aimed at parents."

As the number of public service ads running on networks dropped in the 1990s, the Partnership jumped on a Clinton administration plan to get the PSAs on the air by paying to run them, albeit at low rates. The Partnership still produced some of its own ads, but the majority of work it produces now airs through the ONDCP.

That model could be in jeopardy. The House and Senate are nearing completion of an appropriation bill that could cut back spending for the ONDCP by as much as $50 million in the federal fiscal year that starts next month. With an eye to the appropriations process, drug czar John P. Walters last week quickly moved to credit the media campaign for a new government report suggesting marijuana use among teens is dropping.

Meanwhile the Partnership's biggest sponsor-the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which provides half of the group's $10 million annual budget-has suggested it might play a lesser funding role in the future, according to a person close to the Partnership.

Consultantcy Interbrand recently completed a study of the Partnership and recommended more visibility and independent money raising as two needed steps.

The new effort is the result. The current Partnership Web site allows people to give donations. A new site to launch after Thanksgiving will support people who want to quit using drugs.

Additionally, the Partnership will launch a major fund-raising effort aimed at ensuring that it can retain a $10 million budget.

Mr. Pasierb said a cutback in the foundation's funding would mean layoffs. He added that the idea isn't to increase the budget, but to be more diverse in funding sources.

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