Celebrating Our Strong Roots: Chris Cerf

I recently wrote about the importance of having strong roots. Roots are what provide our foundation, nourish us, and give us the stability to grow and prosper. For our fund, our Limited Partners (LPs) are our roots.

Today, I’d like to highlight another of our inspiring LPs: Chris Cerf.

Chris’s career is incredible with the common thread throughout his many, many accomplishments being an unparalleled commitment to children’s education.

After working as a senior editor at Random House, Chris played an instrumental role in the creation and production of the Sesame Street television program — the most influential children’s program of all time. More than 200 of the songs you probably remember watching as a kid were written and produced by Chris. A ridiculously impressive list of singers including Paul Simon, Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Tracy Chapman, Smokey Robinson, B.B. King, Jimmy Buffett, and Bart Simpson (among so many others — seriously, check out the list on Wikipedia) have performed his songs.

Here’s a playlist that captures a bunch of them:

But Chris’s contributions didn’t stop there: he also played a critical role in the ongoing funding of the show by founding and serving as the original editor-in-chief of Sesame Workshop’s books, records, and toys division.

More recently, Chris has served as executive producer of Between the Lions, a children’s literacy series that his company created for PBS. This show, in addition to winning tons of awards including six Emmys, has been demonstrated to help even kids at the highest risk of literacy failure learn to read.

And more personally, Chris has been an exceptional friend. He welcomed me to New York when I moved here after ten years in California and continues to make sure I feel supported through regular dinners — always to the same little Italian spot — where he asks me about life, work, family, and whatever else is on my mind.

When someone as accomplished and kind as Chris speaks, it’s impossible not to listen and try and soak up every piece of advice he offers. And when you have him as a caring audience for when you speak, you count your lucky stars.

It’s a huge privilege to have him in our corner. His vision, commitment, and impact are influences that we aspire to as we grow.

Discuss on our subreddit.