Sesame Workshop has announced a $20 million gift in support of efforts to help caregivers and community service providers give children a strong and healthy start in life.
The gift from Peter G. Peterson, who died in March, comprises an initial $10 million gift and a $10 million challenge grant to establish the Joan Ganz Cooney Fund for Vulnerable Children, named for Peterson's widow, Sesame Workshop co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney. The fund will support an expansion of the Sesame Street in Communities initiative, including content development, training for service providers, research, and implementation activities. Launched in 2016 with a focus on children from birth to age six, the initiative provides tools designed to address early-learning basics, health and well-being, and issues related to traumatic experiences such as abuse, neglect, or the incarceration of a parent.
From Sesame Street's earliest days, Cooney believed that educational programming should go beyond the television screen to reach children in their own communities. To that end, Sesame Street in Communities works closely with on-the-ground community providers to deliver critical resources and foster nurturing relationships between children and their families and caregivers.
"This gift is an incredible recognition of Joan's commitment to improving the lives of all children, especially the most vulnerable," said Sherrie Westin, executive vice president of global impact and philanthropy at Sesame Workshop. "The fund will enable Sesame Workshop to remain responsive to children's evolving needs in communities across the country, and we will always be grateful to Peter G. Peterson for this meaningful gift."
(Photo credit: Sesame Workshop)