Kheprw Institute: Community Empowerment through Self Mastery
By Jackson Howard, Kathleen McConnaghy, Ben Otto
The Kheprw Institute addresses community challenges through the empowerment of youth and young leaders. As noted on their website, the Kheprw Institute “wants to create a more just, equitable human-centered world by nurturing youth and young adults to be leaders, critical thinkers and doers who see the people in any community as the most valuable assets and are committed to working with marginalized communities to bring about change that leads to empowered self-sustainable communities.”
While youth and young adults play a huge role in our future, finding a way to educate and empower them to contribute to their community and the world they live in can be challenging. As summarized by the Kheprw Institute, “We believe the greatest resource in any community is its people. They possess talents, gifts and abilities of enormous potential. However, in marginalized communities this significant asset is often limited or undervalued… to become self-actualized and to contribute their genius to bettering their community and the world.” Everyone in this world has different talents, gifts, and abilities but some are not as fortunate as others in receiving necessary resources or support.
Chin, who has been with Kheprw Institute for thirteen years, further notes that, “the way a lot of people and businesses approach life and interaction is not people centered, we think that contributes to a lot of the problems we deal with in everyday life. So, a lack of compassion, lack of sincerity.” There is a lack of enriching, educating and helping people to improve themselves. Each person has their own gifts and needs to be given the chance to bring them out.
Miller reflects that “Imhotep Adisa… is no stranger to seeing the possibilities [during his] longtime work with African – American boys and young men, who face a greater risk of imprisonment… being killed… being unemployed than any other demographic.” Imhotep is an African American male who happens to be the co-founder of Kheprw Institute. According to Imhotep, Kheprw Institute serves to “create the future, image and reality that best serves people who look like me, talk like me, think like me.” While the Kheprw Institute was started to give opportunities to young African American males, they have since shifted their focus to include a broader demographic.
Kheprw Institute is unique in that it operates an assortment of social enterprises, which serve as a way to invest in young leaders to bring about change. KI NuMedia, Scarabys Consulting, We Run This, and the Community Controlled Food Initiative are just a few of the social enterprises coming out of the Kheprw Institute.
Self-mastery is something Kheprw thrives on and what keeps people within the organization motivated. Each team member within the Kheprw Institute is mentored, and there is a leadership development program within the team to teach certain skills to enhance the performance of Kheprw as a whole. There is not one member of Kheprw that is focused on one social enterprise as each team member has a different expertise and will teach other members. Their goal of empowering young people is achieved through human transformation, which comes from all the different teaching opportunities people have within the organization.
Providing education and broadening knowledge about specific skill sets, such as technology and web design, takes money. There are three different ways the Kheprw Institute accesses funds: donations, grants, and revenue from their social enterprises.
Kheprw’s impact is not about the quantity of individuals they help, but rather the quality. Kheprw provides a unique space for people to develop their own skills and interests. Each person brought in can choose an area within Kheprw to try and learn more about through a mentorship and self-mastery program.
Most of Kheprw’s analytical tools used to measure their impact rely on non-traditional methods that encourage a human and relationship development approach to this understanding, rather than a material focus. Impact is discussed collectively through weekly staff meetings and reflected on through their annual meeting. In this way, Kheprw exists to empower individuals who can impact their community.
Note: Social Enterprise Alliance – Central Indiana member