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The Yellow Feather Fund: Nonprofit Spotlight

The Yellow Feather Fund: Nonprofit Spotlight

January 11, 2024 by Giving Assistant Editorial Team

Everyone knows that Big Bird and his pals on Sesame Street have been helping kids learn their ABCs and 123s for decades, but did you know they are also helping children here and around the world with even tougher challenges?

Think back to your childhood. Chances are, you have a fond memory of Sesame Street.

Maybe you learned your ABCs and 123s with the help of Big Bird and friends. Perhaps your own child ties their shoes, thanks to Elmo.

These accomplishments are made possible in part to the magic of the Sesame Street Muppets.

Not only do they teach youngsters the importance of table manners or that “sharing is caring,” but did you know they also help children here and worldwide with even tougher challenges?

Enter the Yellow Feather Fund.

Yellow fund bird at a school

What is the Yellow Feather Fund?

The Yellow Feather Fund is a nonprofit organization specializing in learning materials that teach core values, coping skills, and life lessons that make a positive difference in the lives of children.


Named after the lovable Sesame Street character Big Bird and his characteristic plumage, the Yellow Feather Fund started out using well-known Sesame Street Muppets to teach valuable lessons to children facing personal obstacles, such as family struggles or lack of education.

As the story goes, Big Bird wanted to “help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder, and so he started the Yellow Feather Fund.”

The Yellow Feather Fund serves as the philanthropic arm of the Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit media and educational organization behind the iconic television show Sesame Street, best known for positively affecting the lives of millions of children for the past 50 years.

The Fund raises money for youth-related causes, as well as provides children with life-changing tools and resources. The Fund identifies unique challenges that children face and then tailors initiatives in the form of videos, books, and other free digital content.

In 2017, America’s Charities recognized the Yellow Feather Fund as part of an influential educational force in the world and welcomed it into its alliance of 140+ nonprofit organizations.

Today, those who set up a monthly donation through the Sesame Workshop to make a difference for children in need are considered Yellow Feather Friends.

Project Examples

The Yellow Feather Fund allows Sesame Street fans and supporters the opportunity to contribute and to make a meaningful impact in the lives of children.

The Fund empowers children across the world with some of the following programs:

1) “Little Children, Big Challenges” Family Services

Since over 700,000 children have a parent serving in the military, the Yellow Feather Fund supports these kids as a part of their “Little Children, Big Challenges” family services.

Their PDF packets and videos help children and their parents to learn how to cope with the stresses that come with worrying about or missing loved ones serving in the military, such as:

  • Grief and loss
  • Deployments and homecomings
  • Military-to-civilian transitions
  • How to stay healthy as a family
The Yellow Feather Fund: Nonprofit Spotlight Image 1

2) Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children

The Yellow Feather Fund provides tools and resources “designed to serve autistic children and their families” such as online videos to help both children with autism and their friends see what is special about each other as well as learn how to respect one another’s’ differences.

The Yellow Feather Fund also helps both parents and teachers educate autistic children through their videos and daily routine cards. The initiative also introduced Julia, a four-year-old character that represents a child who is on the autistic spectrum.

3) Syrian Refugee Outreach

More than 12 million refugee children around Syria alone have suffered from emergency relocations and other traumas, which makes special educational programs incredibly important.

The Yellow Feather Fund works closely with the International Rescue Committee to help young refugee children in the Syrian response region to develop:

  • Early reading
  • Math
  • Other social-emotional skills

Through the Fund’s camps and videos with new characters designed to better connect with the local kids—such as the adorable Zeerak from Afghanistan—children gain good role models for behavior and learn tips that help them positively connect with their communities.

The Yellow Feather Fund: Nonprofit Spotlight Image 2

Impact and Future Plans

Sesame Street‘s impact is felt far and wide.

Studies have shown that individuals who watched Sesame Street as a child:

  • Have 16% higher GPAs in high school than their peers,
  • Are 18% more likely to be employed,
  • And are 24% more likely to own a home.

This is one of the reasons why Yellow Feather Fund initiatives have been such a success—children and their families tend to gravitate towards Sesame Street’s influential characters. For example, a recent awareness study cited 52% of American adults were familiar with Julia (Sesame Street’s first autistic character).

The Yellow Feather Fund continues to find innovative ways to spread awareness and raise money to produce transformative resources that help children navigate adversity in their lives.

Their latest endeavor: A series of first-ever fun runs geared towards bringing Sesame Street fans of all ages together, and raising money for the Sesame Workshop Yellow Feather Fund.

The first race takes place on November 17, 2019, with events planned for 2020.

How to Donate

To learn how to use Giving Assistant to easily donate a portion or all of your cash back to Yellow Feather Fund, visit their fundraising page

  1. First, sign up for a Giving Assistant account.
  2. Select Yellow Feather Fund on your Giving Assistant account settings menu.
  3. Choose how much of your balance from cash-back rewards you’d like to donate.
  4. Then next time you shop using Giving Assistant and earn cash back you’ll automatically donate your set percentage to Yellow Feather Fund.

Giving Assistant members interested in donating to Yellow Feather Fund can choose just a portion (or all!) of their cash back earnings to go to Yellow Feather Fund.

If you need more help, you can see how to use Giving Assistant to shop online and donate to a nonprofit here – how Giving Assistant works here.

If you haven’t already you can also download the Giving Assistant button cash back extension for your desktop browser.

Get the Giving Assistant browser extension

This will help you to start quickly supporting the Yellow Feather Fund nonprofit AND saving money on your everyday online purchases at thousands of online retailers.

Not a member yet? Sign up here to start supporting Yellow Feather Fund as you shop online.

If you’d like to learn more about Yellow Feather Fund and what they are achieving, visit Yellow Feather Fund.