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. Recently, that agreement was revised, and PMI’s annual charitable gifts have been reduced.
While accepting any funding from the tobacco industry presents challenges, given the urgency of the problem – 1.1 billion smokers, more than 8 million dying each year, and a trajectory toward a billion deaths this century – we remain steadfast in our belief that we did the right and most courageous thing. We accepted funding from sources that would provide it, namely the tobacco industry, so that we could move quickly to save lives, even if it meant risking the criticism of some who would doubt us. Foundation operates independently of PMI, and does so with integrity, as we abide all legal requirements and conduct our activities to the highest ethical and scientific standards. Indeed, independence and transparency are core principles of the Foundation.
Under the Foundation’s Bylaws and Pledge Agreement with PMI, PMI and the tobacco industry are precluded from having influence over how the Foundation uses its funds. Our Bylaws also contain a robust conflict of interest policy.
The Foundation’s Bylaws also articulate its independent research agenda, including its goal to promote and support significant scientific research that advances the field of tobacco harm reduction and reduces the public health burden of smoking-related diseases. The Bylaws further state that the Foundation shall not take into account the potential impact of that research on the image of the tobacco industry or any other industry or commercial entity.
In addition, within the funding principles we have agreed upon with PMI, the Pledge Agreement states that the Foundation will make the following documents publicly available by May 31 of each year: audited financial statements, Form 990-PF, and an operations update. These documents are posted annually.