Thomas and Stacey Siebel Foundation and The Meth Project

By Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, Victoria Chang
2009 | Case No. SI114 | Length 24 pgs.

Tom Siebel, founder of Siebel Systems, created the Siebel Foundation in 1996. In 2005, Siebel came to learn about the prevalence and devastating economic and human costs of methamphetamine (“meth”) abuse across the country, particularly in Montana. Meth had just been identified as the United States’ leading drug threat. Additionally, a RAND Corporation study estimated that meth abuse cost the US $23.4 billion a year in meth related crime and criminal justice programs, foster care, treatment and hospital care and loss of productivity due to absenteeism, incarceration and unemployment. This shocking news caused the Siebel Foundation team—including Executive Director Nitsa Zuppas—to create the Meth Project and address the problem. Siebel developed a research-based consumer marketing campaign, supported by community outreach and public policy initiatives, which graphically demonstrated the risks of meth use and thus prevented potential users from trying the drug (even once). In September 2005, the Meth Project launched an aggressive public education campaign led by saturation-level advertising across TV (40%), radio (21%), newspapers (13%), online media (11%), outdoor billboards (10%) and high-school newspapers (5%). Two years after the project was launched, teen meth use declined 45%, adult meth declined 72% and Montana significantly lowered its national ranking for meth abuse from the fifth highest nationally to 39th. After four years, Montana teen meth use fell by 63% and meth-related crimes decreased by 62%. Rigorous research on perceptions about the drug and meth use was core to the program and was thoughtfully integrated into all campaigns elements. Gathering specific qualitative and quantitative baseline and progress data enabled the Meth Project to articulate clearly the value of its intervention and its investment return to policy leaders, law enforcement officials the public and other key stakeholders.

Learning Objective

Policy-driven initiatives, family foundations, consumer-marketing strategies in philanthropic initiatives, quantitative and qualitative outcome assessment and a business approach to solving social problems and evaluating outcomes.

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