Yolonda C. Richardson
President and CEO
Yolonda C. Richardson is President and CEO of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a position she has held since July 1, 2023. The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is the leading advocacy organization working to prevent and reduce tobacco use and its deadly consequences in the United States and around the world.
From 2009 to 2023, Ms. Richardson served as Executive Vice President for Global Programs at Tobacco-Free Kids. In that role, she oversaw efforts to enact and implement effective tobacco control policies in over 60 countries, including Tobacco-Free Kids’ partnership in the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use. Under Ms. Richardson’s leadership, the global program expanded in 2014 to focus on other critical public health challenges with the launch of the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI). Building on the successes and lessons learned in the global fight against tobacco, GHAI now works in dozens of countries around the world and supports civil society organizations to advance policies on a wide range of public health issues, including food and nutrition policy, health systems strengthening and budget advocacy, and injury prevention.
Prior to joining Tobacco-Free Kids, Ms. Richardson served as the President and Founder of Richardson Consulting, a managing consulting firm specialized in providing senior level strategic support and expertise to nonprofit organizations, foundations, corporate philanthropies, and global development agencies. She has consulted with and for a range of private companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations, including Shell Corporation, Inc., ExxonMobil Corporation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, ELMA Philanthropies, Leon H. Sullivan Foundation, LTL Strategies, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur and Ford Foundations.
Formerly, Ms. Richardson served as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA). Founded in 1975, CEDPA seeks to advance women's rights and expand their access to health and other services through partnerships with more than 150 organizations in 40 countries. As President and CEO, she provided overall leadership and strategic direction for the organization. In addition, she led the organization’s fundraising and new business development efforts, successfully increased the number and scope of private sector partnerships, and raised the visibility of the organization and its issues in the United States and abroad.
She has also served as Special Counsel for the African Development Foundation, a government-funded granting agency that provides financial support to African non-governmental organizations and small businesses to enhance the participation of the poor in the development of their countries. As Senior Vice President of Africare, she oversaw program design, implementation and evaluation of more than 150 rural development projects throughout Africa focused on community health, agriculture, and democracy and governance. She also served as in-house link with external legal counsel on issues of trademark, copyright, employment, and contracting issues.
Prior to joining Africare, Ms. Richardson spent ten years at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a global foundation, where she managed an international grant program focused on improving women’s health and programs and promoting U.S. civil rights, democracy, and governance. Her work at the foundation included support to women’s groups and leaders throughout Africa as well as to an operations research network in West Africa to address the high rates of maternal mortality. Additional support helped to build the women’s movement in South Africa and to address educational access for girls.
Ms. Richardson is a recognized global public health expert as well as on gender and international development, global health, U.S. philanthropy and Corporate Social Responsibility. She speaks and lectures regularly on international development issues and has appeared as an expert source in top media outlets, including the Associated Press, Reuters, C-SPAN, and National Public Radio. She has worked in and traveled to more than 60 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, and Central and South America. She has served on the boards of several national and international organizations. Having practiced as a corporate attorney at the Wall Street law firm, Cahill Gordon & Reindel, Ms. Richardson continues to be a member of the New York Bar Association. She is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Ms. Richardson holds a Masters Degree in Public Health from Columbia University and a Juris Doctorate from Yale University School of Law. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Dillard University in New Orleans.