Who I Am: After graduating from the Pasadena Playhouse, I enjoyed acting for film, television and stage, but my greatest role has been dedicating my life to helping needy children for over five decades. Extensive work in a number of humanitarian organizations gave me a framework for volunteer engagement and management that I find invaluable to this day.
My nonprofit training took place through the Assistance League, the Mary and Joseph League, and several professional organizations. I have served on the board of directors of Children to Children, Inc., the International Alliance on Child Abuse and Neglect and remain an honorary board member for The Dyslexia Foundation.
What I Do: Each time I share the story of Childhelp, I always mention that volunteers are the backbone of the organization. When it came time to conceive of a national response to child abuse, I knew the job would require a lot of hearts working together to make this dream a reality. The Childhelp Chapters became a network of helping hands advocating for children across the country. I oversee national Childhelp Chapter fundraising initiatives, volunteer coordination, board development, strategic planning, celebrity stewardship and community outreach/awareness.Sara O’Meara and I steward Childhelp’s mission in Washington D.C., supporting and developing bills designed to protect children from predators. We expanded those efforts to include Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe and Childhelp Speak Up Be Safe for Athletes to secure children in the classroom and during afterschool activities. Our goal is to have every child benefit from these lifesaving tools. I have seen firsthand that nothing is impossible with the right team of philanthropists refusing to give up! Since 1994, I served as president and CEO of my late husband’s company, Don Fedderson Productions. I manage the rights of the television programs he produced, including Family Affair, My Three Sons, and the Betty White Show. I have served on the company’s board of directors for more than 30 years. With more than 25 chapters and auxiliaries, over 2,500 volunteers nationwide and the blessing of more than $2 million annually, our network of philanthropists ensures that 91 cents of each donated dollar directly reaches our children. I have one daughter and a grandson as well as a son with two granddaughters. My late husband Don Fedderson was a remarkable supporter of Childhelp, producing many programs to benefit our work. Don came up with a great motto for our organization that reflected his investment in our little ones: “For the love of a child.”
Awards and Achievements: Yvonne has received more than 100 honors and awards for her service to children, some of which include the National Children’s Alliance’s Champions of Children Award, the State of California’s Legislature’s Woman of the World Award, and the Women’s International Center’s Living Legacy Award. She and Mrs. O’Meara have been given the Kiwanis World Service Medal, the American Ireland Fund Humanitarian Award, The University of California Riverside Chancellor’s Founder’s Award, and Family Circle Magazine’s “Women Who Make a Difference.” Most recently, Yvonne, along with co-founder Sara O’Meara, have been nominated for the eighth time for the Nobel Peace Prize. Endorsements for the prestigious nomination include letters from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and former first lady Barbara Bush, along with numerous politicians, educators and corporate executives. Just recently she was awarded an honorary doctorate from Northcentral University.
Why I’m Here: It is impossible to look in the eyes of a child in need and do nothing. In 1959 Sara and I discovered a group of orphans that touched our hearts and we continue to be inspired by the little lives we encounter through this mission of light and love.