The Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership Awarded to Pratham

India's largest educational nonprofit impacts more than 34 million children

Jan 13, 2010, 11:00 ET from Claremont McKenna College

CLAREMONT, Calif., Jan. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Claremont McKenna College (CMC) announced today the selection of Pratham, India's largest educational nonprofit organization, as the recipient of the fifth annual Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership. The Kravis Prize, which carries a $250,000 award designated to the recipient organization, recognizes extraordinary leadership in the nonprofit sector.

Pratham improves educational access and educational quality for children in India. The Kravis Prize will be presented to the organization's representatives at ceremonies on March 23 in New York City.

"Pratham embodies the leadership and entrepreneurial spirit that Claremont McKenna College imparts to its students each year," said Henry Kravis. "Pratham's work is making a difference in the lives of millions of children. Their approach to improving educational quality is targeted, cost-effective, and sustainable."

Founded in 1994, Pratham strives to improve the quality of education for India's most vulnerable children. Read India, Pratham's flagship program, works with governments and communities to improve the reading, writing, and basic arithmetic skills of children ages 6-14. The program has reached approximately 34 million children to date, resulting in large-scale improvements in literacy levels across several states in India.

"Every child has the right to learn to read," said Dr. Madhav Chavan, Pratham's Co-founder and C.E.O. "One of the great joys of our work is seeing children read their first words and open their eyes to the power of words. We believe in the power of literacy to transform lives."

Pratham's additional programs include preschools and libraries; training of teachers, volunteers, and government officials; rehabilitation and education of vulnerable and working children; early childhood care and education; and computer and English literacy. These programs reach over one million children each year. Pratham Books develops and publishes low-cost books in 11 Indian languages. In addition to these programs, Pratham implements and oversees the largest evaluation study of children's learning levels in India and publishes the results in the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), which is used widely by governments, education policymakers, academics, and other nonprofits.

"Every year we look for nonprofits that achieve sustainable and significant impact among their target communities," continued Mr. Kravis. "By collaborating closely with government and local communities, Pratham has shown tremendous results and improved millions of children's lives."

Established in 2006, The Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership recognizes and celebrates extraordinary accomplishment and bold leadership in the nonprofit sector. The Kravis Prize is presented and administered by Claremont McKenna College and Marie-Josee and Henry Kravis. Mrs. Kravis, an economist, is a Senior Fellow of the Hudson Institute; Mr. Kravis, founding partner of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., is an alumnus and trustee of CMC.

Kravis Prize Background

The Kravis Prize Selection Committee, chaired by Marie-Josee Kravis, includes: Harry McMahon, CMC alumnus and chair of the Claremont McKenna College Board of Trustees, and executive vice chairman, Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate in economics and the Thomas W. Lamont University Professor, Harvard University; Lord Jacob Rothschild, chairman, Rothschild Investment Trust Capital Partners; and James D. Wolfensohn, chairman, Wolfensohn & Company, L.L.C., and former president, The World Bank.

While the Prize typically recognizes an outstanding individual, in exceptional circumstances the Prize may be awarded to an organization. It is awarded annually based on nominations that are received from a group of confidential nominators. These nominators are selected on the basis of the breadth and depth of their knowledge of the nonprofit sector. Nominators are chosen internationally and from a variety of fields. Prize candidates may also be suggested by the public through the Prize's web site,

Nominations span a broad range of sectors, including economic development, public health, law/justice/human rights, education, and capacity building in the nonprofit sector as a whole. Selection criteria include boldness, innovation, creativity, consistency, persistence, and effectiveness in bringing a vision to fruition. Nominees are also evaluated based on their accomplishments in realizing the mission of an organization and demonstrating best practices in managing that organization.

The Prize is affiliated with The Kravis Leadership Institute (KLI), one of CMC's ten distinguished research institutes. KLI advances the College's mission of preparing students for responsible leadership in business, the professions, and public affairs through its academic research, model leadership development programs, broad leadership curriculum and systematic outreach efforts. Through these programs, the Center has become one of the most recognized leadership programs in higher education.

Past recipients of The Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership are: Roy Prosterman, the inaugural recipient (2006), founder of the Rural Development Institute; Fazle Abed (2007), founder of BRAC; the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) (2008); and Dr. Sakena Yacoobi (2009), founder of the Afghan Institute of Learning.

About Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College, established in 1946, is among the highest-ranked and most selective liberal arts colleges in the nation. CMC excels in preparing students for leadership through the liberal arts in business, the professions, and public affairs. The College is home to more than 130 accomplished teacher-scholars who are dedicated to teaching and to offering unparalleled opportunities for student collaboration in the research process. Enrolling approximately 1,200 students in 2009, CMC launched the Robert Day Scholars Program and added a Master of Arts in Finance degree. CMC combines highly-selective admission, need-blind financial aid, innovative programs, a 9-to-1 student-faculty ratio, ten research institutes, the impact of the seven-member Claremont College Consortium, and a strong and committed network of alumni, to educate its graduates for a lifetime of leadership.

SOURCE Claremont McKenna College