Better Makers: Jennifer Garner Joins Amy Krouse Rosenthal Foundation for First Yellow Umbrella Party

The Amy Krouse Rosenthal Foundation (AKR Foundation) is a nonprofit that was formed to honor celebrated author and creator Amy Krouse Rosenthal by providing funding for ovarian cancer research and child literacy.

The foundation actively seeks out programming and strategic partnerships to promote their efforts. Just this year they have hosted storytimes, visited schools and libraries, organized child literacy programming in Chicago’s public parks, and partnered with several Chicago child literacy organizations to distribute Krouse Rosenthal’s book “Exclamation Mark!” to children in need. They also actively foster awareness about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer and currently fund the Amy Krouse Rosenthal Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Grant through the Foundation for Women’s Cancer.

Amy Krouse Rosenthal published more than 40 books, including bestselling children’s books, memoirs, and keepsake journals. She made short films and YouTube videos, gave TED Talks, and provided radio commentary for NPR. Rosenthal’s viral and heart-breaking essay, “You May Want to Marry My Husband,” reached millions when it was published in the New York Times Modern Love Column in March of 2017. It became one of the most read essays that year.

On Oct. 17, 2019, the AKR Foundation hosted its first benefit, the Yellow Umbrella Party, at Park West in Chicago. The event not only raised money for childhood literacy and ovarian cancer research, detection, and awareness — it also celebrated Krouse Rosenthal’s work and her characteristic spontaneity, creativity, and wonder. The term “yellow umbrella” came from her video “17 Things I Made,” where she invited strangers to meet her at the Chicago Bean, where she would be holding a yellow umbrella.

Guests were delightfully surprised by the participation of Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild award-winning film and television star Jennifer Garner. Garner is set to produce and star in a movie based on “Yes Day!,” a children’s book authored by Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Garner told benefit attendees that she felt deeply connected to “Yes Day!” and has adopted the practice of scheduling a yearly yes day with her three children. Garner also read aloud “Yes Day!” and two other essays from “Textbook Amy Krouse Rosenthal” to guests.

Jennifer Garner Reads Amy's Book "Yes Day!"
Jennifer Garner reads Amy’s book “Yes Day!” to attendees at the Yellow Umbrella Party.

And the highlights do not stop there. Video of acclaimed author John Green reading passages from Amy’s work were shared, with live music provided by singer-songwriter Luke Sital-Singh. Guests also had the opportunity to, for just $20, win 18K gold and diamond earrings by Los Angeles jewelry designer Dale Hernsdorf, valued at $2,900. There were also silent and live auctions where guests could bid on being the honorary bat girl/boy for the Chicago White Sox, vacations and hotel stays, New York City Broadway and Chicago theater, Bulls and Cubs tickets, and more.

Amy's husband, Jason, with singer-songwriter Luke Sital-Singh
Jason B. Rosenthal, Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s husband and AKR Foundation founder and chair, with singer-songwriter Luke Sital-Singh.

Lead Yellow Umbrella Party sponsors included Julie and Marc Platt, Penguin Random House, Wendy and James Abrams, Chronicle Books, HarperCollins, Scholastic, Merrill Lynch Private Wealth Management – The Baldwin Marcovici Group, and Jana and Sheffield Wolk.

Jennifer Garner with Amy's family
Paris Rosenthal, Jason B. Rosenthal, Jennifer Garner, Miles Rosenthal, and Justin Rosenthal
Better Makers AKR Foundation women
Brooke Davis, Katie Froelich (Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s sister), and Stephanie Klein
Better Makers AKR Foundation Family Photo
Some of Amy’s family members: Justin Rosenthal (Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s son), Andrew Kaufmann, Beth and Mark Kaufmann

Madison Muller is a senior at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, learning to navigate the contemporary media environment with compassion and candor. She enjoys writing about health, travel, and humanity. You can always find her with a coffee in hand. Madison is a proud supporter of the National Eating Disorders Association.