Communications RFP Issued By Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW) is seeking an agency to provide communications services that will generate awareness and media coverage for FSFW’S mission and initiatives. The selected agency will collaborate with FSFW partners and act as an extension of the Communications team, with activities beginning in January 2021.


The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit, tax-exempt, private foundation committed to reducing deaths and diseases caused by smoking. Our mission is to end smoking in this generation. To achieve this goal on a truly global scale, we strive to identify and address the unique needs of the developing world as they relate to tobacco cessation and harm reduction.

Founded in September 2017, the Foundation supports its mission through three core pillars: Health, Science, and Technology; Agriculture and Livelihoods; and Industry Transformation. The Foundation’s Health, Science, and Technology work complements ongoing tobacco control efforts and focuses on countries where most smokers live, bringing a smoker-oriented agenda to accelerate quitting and switching to reduced-harm products. Agriculture and Livelihoods aims to diversify tobacco-dependent economies, and the Foundation’s Industry Transformation efforts focus on attaining change within the global tobacco industry.

At its inception, the Foundation entered into a Pledge Agreement, in which it agreed to accept charitable gifts from PMI Global Services Inc. each year for the period 2018 through 2029 to fund Foundation’s mission of solving the global health crisis and ending smoking in this generation. Under the Foundation’s Bylaws and Pledge Agreement, PMI and the tobacco industry, generally, are precluded from having any control or influence over how the Foundation spends its funds or focuses its activities.

Spearheading the Foundation’s work is Dr. Derek Yach, a former World Health Organization (WHO) Cabinet Director and anti-smoking advocate for more than 30 years. The Foundation staff has decades of experience working to end smoking and it includes experts from traditional public health circles (Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Cancer Research UK, The Union), as well as those with deep tobacco regulatory experience.

Scope of Work:

The agency partner will design and implement a communications strategy for the Foundation that will drive international coverage, as well as coverage in key low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). This work will be done in partnership with the internal FSFW team, a scientific communications agency and FSFW’s grantees.


§  Further establish Foundation as a key resource for research, data and information about smoking cessation and tobacco harm reduction

§  Generate positive international media coverage for the Foundation and its grantees by showcasing their research, work and initiatives

§  Create a news engine with the scientific communications agency and partners that allows for regular stream of earned coverage 

–  Help to secure coverage in LMICs and other key areas by supporting in-market efforts of grantees/partners

Scope of Work:

Communications Strategy Development and Implementation

§  Develop strategies for communication of broader narrative of FSFW’s work, leveraging accumulated evidence for international stories

–  Tobacco harm reduction (THR) saves lives; smoking cessation is undervalued; nicotine does not cause cancer; combustion kills; Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) is not addressing key issues (LMICs, gender), etc.

§  Create a clear narrative and storylines that our partners will use in market, taking the lead from internal FSFW team and grantees

–  Collaborate with scientific media agency, further amplifying their efforts ( peer-review journal articles, seminars, etc.) with coverage by traditional earned media

–  Help develop materials for in market distribution, including press releases, fact sheets and op-eds

§  Conduct targeted media outreach and secure coverage in support of strategy

§  Act as a link for the grantees and partners with international media community, identifying opportunities to amplify their work and messages

–  Two types of FSFW grantees will need to be supported:

·         Grantees producing new knowledge and science

·         Grantees with strong networks who will help with dissemination in LMICs

Crisis Communications

§  Proactive crisis communications planning

–  Develop protocols that focus on minimizing exposure and maintaining FSFW’s credibility

§  Provide counsel and help the team respond quickly and decisively as crisis unfolds

Target Audiences:

§  Media

§  Government agency  leaders

§  Policy influencers

§  Clinical health professionals

§  Academics

–  Public health researchers

§  Partners and supporters

§  Other key influencers from the areas of smoking cessation and harm reduction

Requisite Experience and Skills: 

The agency must have demonstrated expertise in elevating the visibility of nonprofits in the global health space, narrative development and securing international earned media placements. Experience with tobacco control, smoking cessation, and/or tobacco harm reduction is preferred.

Additional experience requested:

§  Developing and building a narrative and storylines

§  Elevating global initiatives for nonprofits with media outlets and key influencers

§  Strong international media contacts in global health and tobacco

§  Proven ability to navigate challenging health and wellness initiatives

§  Collaborative spirit to work with existing Foundation partners and agencies

§  Proven track record working with complex topics

Next Steps: 

§  If your agency is interested in proceeding, please confirm your participation by November 25.     

§  Once participation is confirmed, a meeting will be scheduled to brief your team in advance of the proposal development.

§  Finalists will present to FSFW over Zoom and provide references from two clients.

For questions or additional information, please contact Nicole Bradley at or (646) 321-9379

Due Date:

November 25 2020

Address: or (646) 321-9379

Relevant agencies to consider include MWWPR and Prosek Partners.

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