“We Hit the Jackpot….” said Henry Kravis

Henry Kravis is a legendary investor and philanthropist. In 1976, Mr. Kravis with two partners founded Kohlberg, Kravis & Roberts a firm that pioneered the development of private equity. In total, his firm has completed over 165 transactions with a total acquisition price of approximately $422 billion.

Mr. Kravis clearly has demonstrated a great ability to pick winners. So when he says he has hit the Jackpot, we think people should take a very close look at the entity that Mr. Kravis referred to.

That entity is Pratham, the winner of the 2010 Henry R. Kravis Prize in leadershipPratham is world-renowned as the “pratham” or the first & foremost NGO for education.

Established in 1994, Pratham is working in 21 states in India, with a presence in 43 cities and 305,000 villages. Pratham’s “Read India” initiative has reached approximately 34 million children to date, resulting in large-scale improvements in literacy levels across several states in India. In January 2010, We wrote a more detailed article about Pratham titled Pratham – Winner of Henry R. Kravis Leadership Prize & CNN-IBN Indian of the Year 2009 Award .

Many cynics and investors might wonder whether the Kravis Award represents a “top” for Pratham, an accolade for a mature organization that has reached its zenith. Any other NGO would consider making 34 million children literate the achievement of a lifetime and they would be right to think so. But not Pratham.

We spent some time in Pratham’s Mumbai office after the award reception and came away extremely impressed with the new initiatives that Pratham has designed. This is an organization that is young at heart and has the passion of a start up. We regret we are unable to reveal details about Pratham’s next initiative. But we can honestly say to Pratham watchers that the best of Pratham is yet to come.

We now understand what Henry Kravis meant when he said “We hit the Jackpot by giving the Prize to Pratham”. The award ceremony took place at New York’s Museum of Modern Art on Tuesday, March 23, 2010. Claremont College was kind enough to send us photographs from the Award Dinner.

          Henry Kravis & Rukmini Banerji          Kravis Family, Claremont President & Pratham*         Dr. Banerji’s speech at MOMA

For those who wish to hear from Pratham, we include below the videoclip of an interview with Dr. Rukmini Banerji, Program Director for Pratham at Claremont McKenna College.

          Dr. Rukmini Banerji at Claremont McKenna College

* From left to right – Henry Kravis, Farida Lambay, Pratham co-founder, Pamela Gann, President, Claremont McKenna College, Dr. Banerji, Maree-Josee Kravis

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