EIN 13-2655731

Sesame Workshop (SW)

IRS 501(c) type
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NTEE code, primary
Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street and so much more. Sesame Workshop’s mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.
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Program areas at SW

Creation and distribution of educational mediasesame Workshop creates educational content for preschool children and distributes that content in the u.s. and around the world, across various media platforms including television, digital streaming, online, radio, print, mobile, and home entertainment. The content follows a whole child curriculum and is designed to address the current educational, social, and health needs young children, especially those vulnerable to equal and early access to preschool learning. Sesame Workshop is most well-known for its flagship educational program "Sesame street." The recent curriculum focus is on the playful problem solving: positive approaches to learning. A recent impact evaluation(continued in schedule o)showed preschoolers' exposure to Sesame street episodes significantly increased their problem solving skills which involve curiosity, creative thinking skills, and task persistence (not giving up in a face of a challenge or failure). The show currently broadcasts multiple times a day in the u.s. on the public broadcasting service (pbs), which is available for free in 98% of households with televisions. In addition to its presence on pbs and other television and digital platforms, "Sesame street" videos, interactive games and other educational content are available free of charge for users on www.sesamestreet.org, www.pbskids.org and www.youtube.com. Including its distribution on broadcast, streaming vod and cable tv and its presence on various digital platforms, "Sesame street" reaches 10.8 million kids' ages 0-8 in the u.s. on a monthly basis. Its continued popularity places it as the #2 pre-school show on pbs. Sesame street's free youtube channel received over 1.1 billion views domestically in fiscal year 2022 (and 2.2 billion views worldwide). Research has shown that children who watch "Sesame street" consistently perform better academically at every grade level through high school and have more developed social skills. "Sesame street" is also seen in over 150 countries through distribution agreements with local public and commercial broadcasters. In addition, local adaptations of "Sesame street" are produced and distributed in germany, the netherlands, latin america, south africa, india, bangladesh, somalia, ethiopia and afghanistan. The program reaches 150 million kids on a worldwide basis.in addition to the distribution of Sesame street on mass media platforms, Sesame Workshop also leverages its media content and whole-child curriculum to reach children, families, and educators in formal school settings. In fy 2022, Sesame Workshop worked with its partner, educational publisher mcgraw hill (mh), to update the Workshop's first integrated program incorporating critical social emotional learning (sel) skills into mh's wonders english language arts curriculum for elementary (grades k-5) students. The new copyright is for 2023 and replaces the previous copyright for its national program, which sells into all 50 states as opposed to state-specific versions. Fy 2022 also resulted in mh selling a state-specific version into Florida. Our other school partner, teachstone llc, which is the leading provider of the teacher evaluation system, classroom assessment scoring system (class), continued to offer continuing education credits for our professional development videos that leverage Sesame street content. Additionally, we continued development of the digital teacher platform for this program that is designed to embed sel in the context emergent language and literacy development for children 2-5 years of age, leveraging the funds of the second grant from the chan zuckerberg initiative; the formative research during school year 2021-2022 was supported by dr. rebecca silverman, associate professor of early literacy at the stanford graduate school of education, and her team through a research practice partnership (rpp) funded by dr. silverman. We continued to support four pilot programs in California and new york and over 28 classrooms. Finally, we worked to secure a distribution partner for school-based curriculum for our coming together initiative, woh will also be a broader distribution partner for a school-based curriculum for our coming together initiative, who will also be a broader distribution partner for our overall pre-k through grade 2 supplemental curricula.
Global social impactsesame Workshop's international social impact group provides early learning opportunities for young children and families around the world. We partner with local experts, including educators, donors, media organizations, government ministries, and ngos to leverage the power of Sesame street's characters and educational approach to help children around the world grow smarter, stronger, and kinder. We design, deliver, and evaluate global multi-media initiatives that are tailored to meet the specific needs of a particular country or region. The scope of our work ranges from country-specific initiatives -- such as in bangladesh, south africa, and india -- to multi-country programs (continued in schedule o)and regional projects with an emphasis on work in south asia, sub-saharan africa and the middle east, latin america covering thematic areas including foundational skills, early learning, wash, and diversity and inclusion.in a year marked by the continued effects of the covid-19 pandemic and challenging operating contexts, Sesame Workshop strengthened programming to meet the evolving needs of children and families. We developed and distributed materials with new and existing partners, unified our programmatic work and storytelling, advocated for the inclusion of young children in covid and crisis response, worked with colleagues to secure new funding opportunities and expanded our work to new geographies reaching millions of children and families through mass media, digital outreach, and direct services.in bangladesh, season 14 of sisimpur launched in october 2021 on three public and private channels. The virtual sisimpur launch event reached 204,898 people through sisimpur's social media platform and received coverage in 86 local newspapers. Launched in fy21, our local team achieved close to 30,000 new downloads through the sisimpur elearning app in fy22. The app features videos, storybooks and games and is accessible on mobile phones and computers. In addition to sisimpur production, the local team produced and broadcasted two psas engaging with the us ambassador and usaid mission director, produced six eid's special episodes, and distributed over 25,500 copies of storybooks under usaid funding.in india, we made significant progress on digital reach through the Sesame Workshop india youtube platform. By the end of the fiscal year, we crossed 700,000 subscribers and reached 100 + million views. In partnership with the uttar pradesh government, our youtube playlists were delivered via whatsapp to 125,000 workers at anganwadis india's government run pre-schools. The youtube channels feature familiar Sesame characters including elmo, cookie monster, and chamki in both dubbed videos from the Sesame library along with exciting new content developed for the indian audience. In addition to our digital reach, the local team initiated the daddy cool program supported by the hcl foundation. The project focuses on supporting young fathers in low-income communities on improving their engagement with children of 3 - 8 year olds, using play-based pedagogy. By end of fy22, we reached over 71,000 children, 70,000 caregivers, and over 3,700 anganwadi workers directly.in afghanistan we implemented two projects with save the children afghanistan and usaid asia bureau/rti. Under our partnership with save the children, we created new and adapted "baghch-e-simsim" content in dari and pashto, including four storybooks, a game, a facilitator's guide and edited radio episodes. Under our partnership with usaid asia bureau/rti, we delivered the first two batches of video and print content in dari and pashto.in south africa, Sesame Workshop continued mass media engagement with takalani Sesame and deepened impact through implementation of educational outreach programs. The team found that one third of children in south africa watch taklalani Sesame daily and two-thirds of caregiver respondents reported that they believe that the show is educational for their children to watch. Takalani Sesame also hit a major achievement and won a safta (south africa film and television awards) for best children's programs in 2021. Season 13 of takalani Sesame successfully launched in june 2022 on broadcast tv. In addition to broadcast reach, the local team reached over 42,000 children and trained close to 1,500 teachers and social workers in play-based learning/incorporating play in their homes and classrooms.we expanded reach in east africa and signed broadcast deals with fana radio and voice of america to air somali-language, Sesame sheeko sheeko radio episodes in ethiopia, kenya, somalia, and djbouti. In fy22 we were also awarded a $300,000 grant from the u.s. department of state in kenya for a new season of kiswahili tv and an educational community outreach pilot.sesame Workshop's school-based wash up! Program continued to expand in fy22. Under plan international wash and gender in nigeria project, Sesame Workshop launched a friends parody video in collaboration with p&g and unicef, the video launched across multiple social media platforms and was the most watched video of 2022 on the Sesame street instagram. In fy22, isi successfully launched all assets created under the sc johnson covid 19 response project. Under this project, Sesame Workshop created five animations and one textless storybook in spanish, arabic, and east african english - these were distributed digitally and via direct services in latin america, the middle east, and sub-saharan africa. The textless storybook was printed & distributed in rwanda and mozambique through existing wash up! Programs, as well as in colombia, brazil, and peru through existing humanitarian programming.the Sesame Workshop latam team completed the first phase of implementation of listos a jugar!, an integral health program developed in partnership with femsa foundation and mt. Sinai. During this first phase, more than 100 schools participated in the implementation of the program impacting more than 350 educators and 7,000 children and their families. The implementation in schools was accompanied by the #usatussamo communication campaign aimed at adults so that they easily integrate healthy practices into their routine.throughout the 2022 fiscal year, the Sesame Workshop international social impact team proactively met the needs of young children and their families as they faced the continued impacts of the covid-19 pandemic and on-going crises. Remaining nimble and responsive to the changing circumstances of children and families, combined with our ability to create content that is culturally relevant and responsive, we successfully developed and distributed new material to support early learning and child development around the world.
Humanitarian responsein the face of the global refugee crises, millions of young children do not have access to early childhood development opportunities that they need to learn, recover from adverse experiences, and prepare them to thrive. The global covid-19 pandemic continued to limit children's access to learning, especially for more vulnerable families. Throughout fiscal year 2022, Sesame Workshop continued programs reaching young children and families affected by crisis, conflict, and displacement in the middle east, east africa, latin america, and south asia.in early 2022, Sesame Workshop solidified its commitment to working(continued in schedule o)in crisis and conflict settings by creating the welcome Sesame initiative. The emergent goal of welcome Sesame is to expand access to quality, playful, inclusive, and context appropriate early childhood development and learning for young children affected by crisis and provide support to the caring adults in their lives. Programing under welcome Sesame includes both us crisis responses as well as short- and long-term crisis-related programs in a variety of locations internationally including the middle east, latin american, south asia, and recent responses to sudden onset crises in afghanistan and ukraine. Under the ukraine task force, the team rapidly curated, reviewed, prepped, and released 59 existing ukrainian language segments to sst youtube for immediate comfort and entertainment to ukrainian families. The content was picked up and posted on unicef's learning passport. Based on this excellent work by the task force and the tenacity of our philanthropic development team, Sesame has secured a $500k grant from the usaid office of transition initiatives to support the first phase of the ukraine response.during fy22, in partnership with the international rescue committee (irc) and with support from the macarthur foundation and lego foundation, Sesame Workshop continued implementation of ahlan simsim, a program that delivers early learning and nurturing care through ecd services to children and caregivers affected by conflict and displacement in iraq, jordan, lebanon, and syria, and reaches children with educational media through broadcast and on youtube across the middle east and north africa.in fy22, the fourth and fifth seasons of our educational children's television series, ahlan simsim, aired on the regional broadcast channel, mbc3, and reached via broadcast and youtube over 23 million children across the mena region, including 6.4 million children in iraq, jordan, lebanon, and syria. Ahlan simsim introduced a new character, ameera, as an animated character in the watch, play, learn segments and as a muppet in live action segments. Her interest in science reinforces the important role of girls in stem. As a character with a physical disability, she raises awareness of the more than 12 million displaced persons and over 240 million children worldwide who have a disability.under ahlan simsim, new video and print content materials were created in levantine arabic and kurmanji kurdish centered on perseverance, optimism, and hope and kindness towards self and others. Our digital marketing campaigns combined reached over 13 million people and over 98 million impressions across facebook, instagram, and youtube. Ahlan simsim/irc early childhood development direct services reached over 900,000 children and caregivers as of june 30, 2022.we expanded our ahlan simsim programming to include a new project in iraq. During fy22, we selected mercy corps and save the children as implementing partners, submitted project workplans to usaid, and began project implementation.through the play to learn project, a partnership between lego foundation, brac, irc, and nyu global ties, Sesame Workshop continued its efforts reaching children and families in bangladesh, jordan, and lebanon. Under the play to learn project, Sesame Workshop is elevating awareness, engaging policymakers, and increasing investment for early childhood development (ecd) in crisis settings, ensuring access to play-based early childhood learning opportunities that are vital to every child's development.in fy22, play to learn reached over 519,000 people through in-person services and remote interventions such as phone calls, home visits, messaging groups, and ecd home kits. Sesame Workshop and partners continued to engage children and caregivers amidst unpredictable covid outbreaks through scaling up direct services and engaging with communities and families. The teams continued their co-creation of child and caregiver print content, developed storybooks, flash cards, community-facing posters, flipchart, and for the rohingya context. During the fiscal year, the play to learn team completed all 140 scripts for the "watch, play, learn" animated videos. These videos are a part of ongoing content development efforts to create globally relevant and modular animated videos to be used in crisis-affected contexts; videos will be paired with accompanying contextualized materials. In fy22, the play to learn team laid the groundwork for testing watch play learn content through new pilot partnerships in bangladesh, colombia, and kenya. In a formative study in dadaab, kenya on the watch, play, learn content, Sesame Workshop found that children were engaged and that caregivers thought the lessons were important and relevant for children.the play to learn team secured opportunities to elevate the importance of ecd and disseminate program learnings and evidence through strategic advocacy events and publications. These included testimonies before us government officials, presentations at high stakeholder conferences, co-leading panels at the un general assembly and world bank fragility forum and delivering a briefing to the un security council.sesame Workshop continues to explore opportunities to expand programming and deepen impact to ensure that children and families affected by crisis and conflict have access to early learning experiences that help young children grow and thrive.
U.s. social impactin addition to distributing its educational content on mass media platforms, Sesame Workshop creates and distributes bilingual multi-media educational initiatives and resources that are targeted to specific at-risk audiences or that address specific educational needs. In fy 2022, the Sesame street in communities (ssic) program tackled additional tough topics to meet the needs of marginalized children and families. Welcome sesamethis fiscal year, Sesame Workshop responded to the influx of both afghan and ukrainian families seeking resettlment in the united states due to crisis and/or conflict through its new welcome Sesame initative. In november and december 2021, Sesame Workshop collaborated with us bases where afghan families had arrived to distribute usb drives with videos in dari to show in their temporary schools. We also provided a bit of joy and comfort to children at fort bliss in december '21 when costumed character grover greeted them at schooltime. On february 2nd ssic launched a new bilingual (english/spanish) topic page, displacement and resettlement, to support families who are coping with the effects of crisis, displacement, and/or resettling in the u.s. over the next few months, additional resources were created, versioned into various languages, and launched in dari, pashto, ukrainian, and russian. These resources are designed to provide comfort and emotional support, improve foundational skills to help ease transitions, and build resilience in families as they settle into their new or "for-now" communities. Each of the six new bundles features videos, an article for caregivers, and an interactive game for families (resources vary depending on the language). The resource launch was amplified through global partner networks and email communications. From launch through june 30th the topic page received 6,157 pageviews and 2,302 total clicks on the activities. Coming togethercreating resources that foster a strong sense of identity and belonging remained a priority for ssic in fy 2022. On april 20th, ssic launched new coming together resources to help kids and families not only to build self-confidence, but support others as an upstander. The new community diversity subtopic page resources include 3 videos, 5 printables, an article, and an interactive game. These bilingual (english and spanish) resources are designed to help children celebrate who they are on the inside as well as the outside, express their uniqueness, explore their differences, and appreciate the diversity of their communities. The resource launch was amplified by a press release and a story in usa today. The resources earned nearly 3,000 pageviews on the subtopic page and 1.8 million impressions via paid media.additionally, we continued our commitment to providing resources to families, caregivers, teachers, and providers around the country to provide a greater understanding about autism and tools dedicated to showing that all children autistic and neurotypical alike are amazing in their own ways. On october 4, 2021, we launched new resources designed to help families create new routines, build flexibility, and cope with the challenges of change during turbulent times. These resources included backyard camping animation created with exceptional minds studio, a school and studio for young adults on the autism spectrum, featuring julia and her family. While autism can reliably be diagnosed by age 2, there are often a lack of culturally relevant resources to encourage early screening, diagnosis, and acceptance. We adapted the digital storybook we're amazing 1, 2, 3, into mandarin and cantonese to extend these resources to the chinese american community and released supplemental articles for chinese american families and for providers serving the chinese american community.in march 2021 all autism resources were integrated onto the Sesame street in communities website to consolidate web traffic and create a more favorable user experience for accessing the autism resources. Thematic subtopics include family bonding, making friends, routines and flexibility, just for providers, just for parents, and coping with the pandemic.based on an advisory held on may 18th, 2021 and continued recommendations from the autistic community, new resources were developed focused on the theme of belonging. Launched on april 1, 2022, in honor of autism acceptance month on sesamestreetincommunitiesorgautism resources include Sesame street friends: in julia meets wes, sam introduces wes to julia, and together, they find different ways to play while respecting each other's boundaries and needs. In the "we belong" song, julia, elmo, abby, and wes celebrate friendship and different ways of belonging. Additional resources included printables and articles for parents and providers centered on the themes of belonging and friendship. Press coverage for new resources included cynopsis media, licensing magazine, and anb media. A Sesame street episode featuring julia broadcast on pbs and hbo in april 2022, in which julia and her friends on Sesame street create a story together.on july 12th, 2021, we launched another new phase to our coming together initiative. The resources, made possible by support from usaa, highlighted activities to support military and veteran communities as they navigate discussions about race and racism within the military and its impact on children and families. Included in this launch were 6 new muppet videos, an interactive game for kids, two printable activities, and 5 parent articles. On november 12th, 2021, we added to these resources with a professional development guide for providers to explore conversations about race and inspire children to stay curious, as well as a bilingual family guide, available in print and digital formats. We strategically partnered with three key implementation partners in the military space (department of defense education activity, blue star families, and the military child education coalition) who committed to embedding these resources into their services, consistently reaching kids and families in digital and in-person programming. 18,100 printed activity books were distributed, over 1,000 providers accessed the professional development course, and webinars highlighting the resources have garnered over 5,000 views. Additionally, Sesame also developed robust pr and social media campaigns which resulted in 840,246,938 press impressions and 3,159,690 social impressions, for a total of 843,406,628, far exceeding our goal of 3.75 million total impressions.health and resiliencessic maintained a focus on encouraging families to build healthy habits that foster resilience, as well as curiosity around both their wellness and the world around them. On may 23, ssic added new resources to the eating well topic page as a part of our healthy habits initiative. Supported by walmart foundation, this work aims to help kids and families develop healthy relationships with food, plus strategies for planning and making delicious, budget-friendly meals. The topic was expanded to include 2 documentaries featuring real families, a "chef lily's tip" video, 4 printables, 3 articles, a printable poster, and a digital storybook. These bilingual (english and spanish) resources are designed to empower children and families to make healthy choices! Through this initiative, we are also teaming up with the national alliance for hispanic health and the american academy of pediatrics to deliver these resources to the members of their healthcare organizations, and the children and families they serve. Printed resources including the summer sips storybook, prescription pads for easy sharing of resources and direct mail postcards were distributed to the organizations' networks. By june 2022, over 33,000 postcards and 2,000 books and pads were distrubted. The new reosoures have received 983k impressions via paid media 2,690 pageviews on the topic page.

Grants made by SW

GranteeGrant descriptionAmount
International Rescue Committee (IRC)Program Implementation$16,469,152
New York University (NYU)Program Implementation$4,211,308
Sesame Workshop InternationalGeneral Support$1,778,450
...and 4 more grants made

Who funds Sesame Workshop (SW)

Grants from foundations and other nonprofits
John D and Catherine T Macarthur FoundationTo Enhance Caregiver-Child Engagement and Improve Children's Learning and Socio-Emotional Outcomes By Implementing A Large-Scale Early Childhood Intervention in the Syrian Response Region$17,340,653
Conrad N. Hilton FoundationTo Support Inclusion and Belonging for Refugee and Migrant-Hosting Communities By Nurturing Early Learning Environments$4,000,000
George Lucas Family FoundationThrough Our Eyes Project$1,000,000
...and 72 more grants received totalling $26,613,612

Personnel at SW

Florence Ann RomanoChief Executive Officer
Sherrie WestinPresident and Interim Chief Executive Officer$811,811
Steve YoungwoodChief Executive Officer$552,745
Erica BlobChief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer
Tyler LewisChief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer of Pinky Promise Films Show More
...and 36 more key personnel

Financials for SW

RevenuesFYE 06/2022
Total grants, contributions, etc.$65,164,778
Program services$147,944,344
Investment income and dividends$6,626,339
Tax-exempt bond proceeds$0
Royalty revenue$38,161,290
Net rental income$0
Net gain from sale of non-inventory assets$13,273,577
Net income from fundraising events$-883,796
Net income from gaming activities$0
Net income from sales of inventory$922,802
Miscellaneous revenues$0
Total revenues$271,209,334

Form 990s for SW

Fiscal year endingDate received by IRSFormPDF link
2022-062023-05-15990View PDF
2021-062022-07-11990View PDF
2020-062021-05-26990View PDF
2019-062021-01-21990View PDF
2018-062019-08-17990View PDF
...and 8 more Form 990s

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Field Museum of Natural HistoryChicago, IL$91,881,924
Data update history
May 18, 2024
Received grants
Identified 3 new grant, including a grant for $250,000 from Wounded Warrior Project
April 23, 2024
Updated personnel
Identified 8 new personnel
January 3, 2024
Received grants
Identified 30 new grant, including a grant for $17,340,653 from John D and Catherine T Macarthur Foundation
October 25, 2023
Received grants
Identified 5 new grant, including a grant for $105,000 from David R Clare and Margaret C Clare Foundation
August 21, 2023
Received grants
Identified 1 new grant, including a grant for $1,000 from JRB and Katie Berger Family Foundation
Nonprofit Types
Youth service charitiesArts, culture, and humanities nonprofitsMedia and communications organizationsTelevision producers / broadcastersHeadquarter / parent organizationsCharities
EducationArts, cultural, and humanitiesChildren
Political advocacyLobbyingFundraising eventsOperates internationallyNational levelReceives government fundingGala fundraisersTax deductible donations
General information
1900 Broadway
New York, NY 10023
Metro area
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
New York County, NY
Website URL
Facebook page
Twitter profile
IRS details
Fiscal year end
Taxreturn type
Form 990
Year formed
Eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions (Pub 78)
NTEE code, primary
A32: Television
NAICS code, primary
624110: Child and Youth Services
Parent/child status
Central organization
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