CLAREMONT, Calif., March 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2014 Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership will be awarded to Helen Keller International (HKI), which is dedicated to the eradication of blindness and the reduction of global malnutrition. Kathy Spahn, President and Chief Executive Officer, will receive the Prize on behalf of HKI on Thursday, March 13 at a gala award dinner on the Claremont McKenna College (CMC) campus. Previous Kravis Prize award recipients, who gather annually at CMC to share best practices and engage with students and faculty through classroom visits and panel discussions, will join Spahn on campus for the award ceremony.
Spahn will receive $250,000 during the Kravis Prize Award ceremony on March 13. The evening event, with remarks from CMC President Hiram Chodosh, Marie-Josee Kravis and Henry Kravis, as well as Spahn, will be live-streamed at this address: http://www.cmc.edu/livestream/
Spahn is also being honored earlier in the day during a Kravis Prize luncheon at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum. Her remarks at noon also will be live-streamed.
Helen Keller International's mission is to prevent and treat blindness and malnutrition. Founded in 1915 by Helen Keller and George Kessler, HKI is headquartered in New York City and works in 22 countries in the Africa and Asia-Pacific regions, as well as domestically.
In the U.S., Helen Keller International combats vision impairment by providing impoverished and at-risk school children free vision screenings and prescription eyeglasses, in many cases mitigating poor academic performance. Its screening programs in Los Angeles County have resulted in over 216,000 vision screenings and close to 22,000 pairs of free prescription eyeglasses to schoolchildren in need.
"It is an incredible honor and a privilege to have been selected for the Kravis Prize," Spahn said. "In addition to recognizing the successes we have achieved in saving sight, improving health and reducing child mortality, this award celebrates the importance of sharing the practices behind those successes so that the impact of the work–– saving sight and lives––can be multiplied."
An estimated 500,000 children go blind annually as a result of vitamin A deficiency. The deficiency also compromises the immune system and can increase the risk and severity of diseases such as diarrhea, measles, and acute respiratory infections. As such, half of those children will die within a year of going blind.
HKI has reduced blindness and child mortality through the distribution of vitamin A capsules to children and lactating mothers around the world since 1972. Last year, HKI reached 50 million children in Africa alone by providing them twice-yearly life- and sight-saving treatments of vitamin A. The World Health Organization estimates that vitamin A supplementation reduces deaths in children ages 6 to 59 months by nearly 25 percent.
"Helen Keller International's worldwide expansion benefitting the most vulnerable populations is a testament to HKI's real and measurable impact," said Henry Kravis, co-founder of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P., and founder of the Kravis Prize. "There is much to be learned from Helen Keller International's transformative and encouragingly successful work. Their research in nutritional blindness more than four decades ago revealed how something as simple as a vitamin A capsule could mean the difference between sight or blindness––between life and death," Mr. Kravis said.
Marie-Josee Kravis, chair of the Kravis Prize Selection Committee, said HKI's leadership in this area has been pivotal. "This nonprofit's irrepressible, extraordinary human spirit is only matched by its dedication to the exceptional work continued by its torch bearers, despite challenging realities. We are grateful for their remarkable work to change lives all over the world, including the lives of young people right here in U.S."
To learn more about Claremont McKenna College, please visit the College's website.
SOURCE Claremont McKenna College