National Endowment for the Humanities Appoints Pranita A. Raghavan as Assistant Chair for Planning and Operations

Pranita Raghavan
(June 1, 2022)

WASHINGTON, D.C. —The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is pleased to announce the appointment of Pranita A. Raghavan as NEH’s new Assistant Chair for Planning and Operations.

“Raghavan’s extensive background in public service, leadership experience at both the federal and municipal level, and expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives will be an asset to NEH as it works to expand the reach of NEH grant programs and products to ensure that all Americans have access to high quality, humanities-based research, resources, and public programs,” said NEH Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo). “We are delighted to welcome her to NEH and look forward to her leadership as the agency’s new Assistant Chair for Planning and Operations.”

Raghavan will oversee NEH’s administrative offices which include Accounting, Acquisitions, Administrative Services, Grants Management, Human Resources, and Planning and Budget.

Prior to joining NEH, she was the general counsel and chief diversity officer at the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, the largest municipal funder of arts and humanities in the United States. As part of the executive team, she oversaw a wide range of agency programs and operations and led the agency’s innovative policies and programs focused on increasing diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in the cultural community.

She has over 20 years of experience in successfully leading mission-driven organizations and providing strategic management, operational, and legal advice on a wide range of issues, including strategic planning, program evaluation, grants management, labor and employment, financial planning and accounting, governance, contracting and procurement, risk mitigation, information technology, workforce development, and equitable practices.

Prior to working for the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Raghavan spent several years in federal service as district director with the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, a civil rights enforcement agency within the U.S. Department of Labor, and as a compliance attorney and mediator with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. 

Before she entered federal service, she worked as a litigator for McCarter & English, LLP, and provided extensive pro bono representation to clients, including licensing and contract work for a cultural education nonprofit. She graduated with honors from Washington & Lee University School of Law and served as the editor-in-chief of the Race and Ethnic Ancestry Law Journal (now The Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice). She received her B.A. with honors from Penn State University, where she majored in journalism and minored in dance and peace studies.

National Endowment for the Humanities: Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at


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