During 1998 and 1999, staff with America's Promise—The Alliance for Youth developed and implemented an action plan for the Healthy Start Task Force.
America's Promise—The Alliance for Youth, a national initiative headed by General Colin L. Powell, was created through a Citizens Service Summit convened by the Points of Light Foundation in 1997. The Healthy Start Task Force, headed by the president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Steven Schroeder, MD, was part of the initiative's efforts to enhance the well-being and life potential of children at risk.
- America's Promise developed and implemented an action plan for the task force's effort.
The project was coordinated by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and complemented RWJF's national program, Covering Kids: A National Health Access Initiative for Low-Income, Uninsured Children, which seeks to identify and enroll eligible low-income children into public and private coverage programs and to assure continued enrollment of Medicaid-eligible children whose coverage may be disrupted by welfare reform.
Key activities included:
- America's Promise sought pro bono assistance from the private sector, asking five communications firms to propose campaign themes and tag lines. The group subsequently invited one of the firms (Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns and Associates, Inc.) to develop its themes further.
- It also recruited Wirthlin Worldwide to conduct two focus groups of parents and social workers to test the task force campaign messages, tag lines and possible toll-free phone numbers. Project staff developed a tag line, Insure Kids Now, and a toll-free number (1-877-KIDSNOW) and campaign materials.
- America's Promise worked with Bonneville Communications, another communications firm, to produce pro bono radio public service announcements (PSAs) featuring General Powell. The spots were to run on radio stations owned by Bonneville in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Salt Lake City and Washington.
As the grant ended, the Ad Council was beginning to distribute the radio PSAs to approximately 5,000 additional stations across the nation.