The Reminiscences of Peter Peterson and Joan Ganz Cooney

The Transcript

I met Mitch through Pete, so I didn’t meet him until 1980, ’79, and was very interested in the work he did. I never became involved with Phoenix House, but he took me out quite a few years ago—maybe eight, nine, ten—to a Phoenix House facility out of town. And I was blown away with how well run it was, what they were doing. They even within this facility had a public school, an accredited New York public school within the facility. And I was impressed with the students in the classes and the way they were teaching.
— Joan Ganz Cooney

Biography: Pete Peterson is founder and chairman of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. Pete’s distinguished and far-reaching career spans more than five decades, including contributions and accomplishments in public service, business, and philanthropy. Pete’s public service began in 1971 when President Richard Nixon named him Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs. One year later, he was named U.S. Secretary of Commerce. From from 2000 to 2004, he chaired the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In 1985, he co-founded The Blackstone Group, and over the next two decades, he helped to grow the firm into a global leader in alternative investments. In the 1970s and 80s, Pete served as chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers and Lehman Brothers, Kuhn, Loeb Inc. Before working in Washington, Pete was chairman and CEO of audio-visual equipment manufacturer Bell & Howell, and an executive at advertising firm McCann Erickson. Joan Ganz Cooney co-founded the Children’s Television Workshop (since renamed Sesame Workshop) in 1968 and has created children’s programming, including Sesame Street, The Electric Company, 3-2-1 Contact, and Dragon Tales, for more than three decades. She served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Sesame Workshop until 1990 and is currently Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Workshop’s board.

Keywords: Phoenix House; New York City; Mitchell Rosenthal; fundraising; philanthropy; fiscal policy; reform; education; youth; Blackstone Group; Lehman Brothers; Richard Nixon; US Chamber of Commerce; Hamptons; John J. McCloy; Tom Watson; board; social networks; Howard Meitiner; substance abuse treatment