Carnegie Corporation and Ford Foundation Honored at Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary

Monday, June 10, 2019

Carnegie Corporation and Ford Foundation Honored at Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary

NEW YORK - At Sesame Workshop's 17th annual benefit dinner on Wednesday night, the organization honored Former First Lady Michelle Obama with the Joan Ganz Cooney Award, named for 's creator. With special performances and honorees spanning the organization's past, present, and future, the evening celebrated Sesame Street 's 50-year history of helping kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.

"For half a century, Sesame Workshop has been on a continuous, relentless, and successful mission to help kids get ready for school-and for life," said Jeffrey D. Dunn, President and CEO of Sesame Workshop. "As we mark this historic anniversary, we're proud to honor Former First Lady Michelle Obama, a tireless champion of children and families who shares our commitment to improving the lives of kids around the world."

Sesame Street co-founder Joan Ganz Cooney joined Lin-Manuel Miranda to present Mrs. Obama with the award. "When I became First Lady, and I knew that I wanted to help kids reach their potential, my first question was a simple but familiar one: Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?" said Mrs. Obama. "I cannot tell you how proud and thankful I am to come here tonight as a Sesame Street partner. You are always ahead of the curve, always out there observing, and learning, and creating new ways to help kids and parents navigate the world around them." [ Watch the full speech here.]

Held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, the event was hosted by Hoda Kotb and included special guests John Oliver and Chrissy Teigen. The evening culminated with performances from John Legend and the Sesame Street Muppets, finishing with the Sesame Street classic, "Sing."

The event also honored the Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, which were among the first founders of Sesame Street in the 1960s. Original cast member Sonia Manzano presented Visionary Awards to Carnegie Corporation president Vartan Gregorian and Ford Foundation president Darren Walker, who accepted on behalf of their organizations. Remarks from Julia Stasch, president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, highlighted their historic $100M award to help Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee bring early childhood education to children affected by refugee crises. On behalf of the LEGO Foundation, CEO John Goodwin accepted the Innovation Award for their commitment to support displaced children through the power of playful learning...