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An Awareness of Systems & Self: Checking in with Naveen Kanithi, a Prospera Partners Program Alum

By July 18, 2023No Comments

Naveen Kanithi

This month our blog features a Q&A with Naveen Kanithi, the Director of Operations for Reading Quest, a non-profit with a mission to support literacy for the children of Santa Fe and West Las Vegas, New Mexico through free structured literacy tutoring and professional development for teachers based on the science of reading. Naveen is an alum of the Prospera Partners Emerging Social Sector Leaders program and more recently took part in our BIG – Bold Impact for Good Dismantling Systemic Racism in the Nonprofit Sector workshop, as well.

Naveen is passionate about education, youth development and community service work. In the past 20+ years, he has worked with nonprofits and government entities across three continents, creating and cultivating schools and education systems that address individual, community and workforce needs. He believes in the infinite potential of the spirit of a child, and his role as a facilitator to help shape environments that are conducive to sustainable growth and freedom of expression for this and future generations.

For the better part of the last decade, he helped to develop and expand an osteopathic medical school network focused on community-based training in rural, underserved areas in the Pacific Northwest. Alongside, helped develop primary care medical residency programs based in community health settings across the US, as well as community-based allied health professional training programs. Previously, Naveen was a founding member of Kingsbridge International High School, a public school in New York City formed in conjunction with the Gates Foundation, focused on serving a student body with limited to no English language skills. Prior to this, he worked for The World Bank in India and UNICEF in New York.

Here’s what he had to say about the impact that our “BIG” programs have had on his important work:

What insights or lessons from the Prospera Partners’ programs you attended have stuck with you?

A hallmark of Prospera Partners’ programs is the environment and forums they create to inspire genuine self-inquiry as an integral part of systematic inquiry. A critical insight that has stuck with me is process oriented – the art of self-reflection when examining big topics such as systemic and structural racism.

How has your work shifted after participating in these workshops?

Through my work at Reading Quest and leading our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, I’ve been able to bring resources into the organization by way of our committee. This has helped us to shape both our internal and external facing presence in this arena. Further, we were able to bring Kourtney Andar in for an engaging interactive presentation on microaggressions and related DEI topics at a Reading Quest staff and board retreat. These experiences have helped to shape the culture of Reading Quest in alignment with our deepest values.

How do you see the Prospera Partners offerings as different from other events or workshops you have attended in the past?

The ability to commune with other nonprofit leaders in the field both remotely and in person has been a great gift. The level of peer-to-peer engagement is noteworthy.

Why would you encourage someone else to participate in a BIG – Bold Impact for Good program?

BIG programs help to increase awareness of oneself and the systems one finds oneself in, to connect with others on parallel journeys, and invite opportunities for collective reflection and collaboration, with doses of inspiration and fun along the way.


Learn more about Reading Quest by visiting their website: readingquestcenter.org
Interested in learning and growing with BIG – Bold Impact for Good? Visit our BIG events page to see what’s coming up next.