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Sesame Street Actress to Address Groundwork Ohio's 2023 Advocacy Day

Keynote address, sponsored by PNC Bank, will bring together hundreds to support children and families

Sonia Manzano, an award-winning author and actress known for her role as “Maria” on Sesame Street, will be the keynote speaker of Groundwork Ohio’s 2023 Advocacy Day. PNC Bank, a longtime supporter of early childhood education initiatives, will sponsor Ms. Manzano’s address.

Advocacy Day will be held on Wednesday, March 8, 2023 at the Ohio Statehouse and features hundreds of statewide early childhood advocates and supporters, coming together for a day of meaningful learning and advocacy to strengthen relationships with state policymakers. Issues relevant to Ohio’s children and families will be at the forefront of our work leading up to the 2023 Biennial Budget and Advocacy Day will be a moment for collaboration, connection, and camaraderie throughout the state. Attendees will advocate for state policy and investment that lay the foundation to ensure all children in Ohio are healthy and ready to learn.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Sonia Manzano to Columbus and think she’s perfectly positioned to share her decades of expertise working with and writing for children and families with current and future advocates in our state,” said Shannon Jones, President & CEO of Groundwork Ohio. “Through PNC’s generous sponsorship, Sonia’s work can influence the stories we hope to share with the leaders of our state working on the critical policies that will affect the future workforce of our state.”

Sonia is a first-generation American of Latino descent and has positively impacted the lives of millions of parents and children since the early 1970s when she began her role as Maria on Sesame Street. She has since authored several books for children, young adults, and adult audiences.

PNC’s sponsorship includes the purchase of Sonia’s books for all 400 Advocacy Day attendees, as well as books for early learning centers supported through PNC Grow Up Great®, a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.

“PNC recognizes that birth to age 5 is a critical time in a child’s development,” said David Melin, PNC Regional President for Dayton. “Groundwork Ohio’s Advocacy Day provides an opportunity to meet with policymakers and advocate for advancing systemic changes that improve outcomes for Ohio’s youngest children and their families, and we are excited to be able to support and participate in these efforts.”

Melin serves on Groundwork Ohio’s Board of Directors and is one of PNC’s seven regional presidents across the state.

After hearing from Sonia and other statewide experts in birth to age three development, Advocacy Day attendees are scheduled to hold meetings with state legislators, advocating for Groundwork Ohio’s budget priorities utilizing data, research, and personal stories, illustrating the unquestionable need for all children to thrive.

More information about Advocacy Day will be available in the coming weeks. Press inquiries in the meantime can be sent to Director of Communications Becca Thomas. Sponsorship questions can be sent to Director of Advancement Carol Argiro.


About Groundwork Ohio

Groundwork Ohio is a committed, nonpartisan public-policy research and advocacy organization formed in 2004 that champions high-quality early learning and healthy development strategies from the prenatal period to age five, that lay a strong foundation for Ohio kids, families, and communities. Learn more about Groundwork Ohio at and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

About PNC

PNC Bank PNC Bank, National Association, is a member of The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: PNC). PNC is one of the largest diversified financial services institutions in the United States, organized around its customers and communities for strong relationships and local delivery of retail and business banking including a full range of lending products; specialized services for corporations and government entities, including corporate banking, real estate finance and asset-based lending; wealth management and asset management. For information about PNC, visit


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