Former First Lady Michelle Obama and Sesame Street creator Joan Ganz, together at the nonprofit’s annual benefit on May 29 in New York City. Photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama accepted the Joan Ganz Cooney Award, named for Sesame Street’s creator, at the nonprofit organization’s annual benefit dinner on May 29. Held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City and hosted by Hoda Kotb of NBC’s TODAY, the evening featured a musical performance by John Legend and special appearances from high-profile guests such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, John Oliver, Chrissy Teigen, and the Muppets of Sesame Street, celebrating the organization’s 50-year history of helping kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. As a Sesame Street in Communities partner, the ACE Awareness Foundation supported the gala and Dr. Wilson-Simmons attended the festivities.

In a statement, Sesame Workshop’s President of Global Impact and Philanthropy Sherrie Westin applauded the First Lady’s history of child advocacy: “As we celebrate this milestone, we’re proud to honor First Lady Michelle Obama for all that she has done to help improve the lives of children. From fighting childhood obesity, to supporting military families, to empowering girls the world over, Mrs. Obama is a tireless champion of children and families.”

Former First Lady Michelle Obama and NBC TODAY host Hoda Kotb. Photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop.


Chrissy Tiegen and John Legend were among the list of special guests at the gala, along with the Muppets of Sesame Street. Photo courtesy of Sesame Workshop.

As part of the ACE Awareness Foundation’s ongoing partnership with Sesame Workshop, all four Universal Parenting Places (UPPs) in Memphis have embedded Sesame Street in Communities resources into their programming. For more information, visit our SSIC partnership page.