SOURCE: Room to Read

July 10, 2007 14:56 ET

Room to Read Receives Top Awards for Leadership and Innovation in Worldwide Education

Nonprofit Earns High Marks From Charity Navigator, Academy for Educational Development and University of San Francisco; Scholarship Student Profiled in PBS Video

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - July 10, 2007) - Room to Read announced today that it has received several top honors in the field of worldwide education. In addition, the organization is currently featured in a Web-based PBS video series spotlighting people who innovate in ways that transform our interconnected world.

Awarded the highest rating from Charity Navigator and selected as one of only six international "Breakthrough Ideas in Education" winners from the Academy for Educational Development, Room to Read aims to be the trusted global brand of education in the developing world. Leading the charge, John Wood, founder and CEO of Room to Read, was also designated as this year's Asia Pacific Leader by The University of San Francisco's Center for Pacific Rim Studies for his visionary work to combat illiteracy in Asia. His book, "Leaving Microsoft to Change the World," was recently selected as one of Library Journal's top business books of 2006 and as a 2007 "notable book" by the Kiriyama Prize.

Recipient of more than a dozen awards since its inception, Room to Read is one of the fastest-growing and most effective organizations of the last decade and one that is not afraid to think big: In just six years of existence, Room to Read has served over 1.2 million children through its programs. "We are thrilled and honored by these esteemed recognitions that support our mission to reach 10 million children with the lifelong gift of education by the year 2020," said Wood.

Room to Read is currently highlighted in a video on PBS's FRONTLINE/World website in an inspiring series on social entrepreneurs. The 15-minute video titled: "Nepal: A Girl's Life," chronicles the life of Sabina Timilsina, a young Nepalese girl, who is a part of the Room to Grow Scholarship Program. To see the video, visit:


Earlier this year, Room to Read garnered an exceptional four-star rating from Charity Navigator, putting it in the top echelon of charitable organizations in the U.S. Charity Navigator is the nation's largest and most reputable independent charity evaluator that investigates and rates the financial health and performance of over 5,100 non-profit organizations. With a focus on results, low overhead, consistent growth and transparency, Room to Read's organizational efficiency and capacity is recognized as exceptional among its peers.

One of the world's foremost educational and social development organizations, the Academy for Educational Development (AED), confirmed this status by choosing Room to Read's Local Language Publishing program as one of six "Breakthrough Ideas in Education" winners this March. A pioneer of high quality children's literature accessible to youth in Asia and Africa, Room to Read hires local authors and illustrators to publish bilingual, imaginative and culturally-relevant children's books. AED applauds Room to Read for this unique program that supports the free exchange of information and knowledge in education.

In addition to these organizational achievements, John Wood received the 2007 Asia Pacific Leadership Award from University of San Francisco's Center for Pacific Rim Studies. Mr. Wood was honored for his exceptional contributions in Asia serving under-privileged children as a promotion of understanding, communication and cooperation among the nations, peoples and economies in the region. A former Microsoft executive, John founded Room to Read on a unique co-investment model that enlists local support for the long-term use and benefit of the community. Starting in Nepal, Room to Read now works in eight countries.

About Room to Read

Room to Read's mission is to provide under-privileged children with an opportunity to gain the lifelong gift of education. It was founded on the belief that education is the key to breaking the cycle of poverty and taking control of one's own life. The organization is currently establishing educational infrastructure in Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zambia. Room to Read has built 287 schools, established over 3,600 libraries, published 147 new local language children's titles, donated 2.8 million books, established 117 computer and language labs and funded over 2,300 long-terms girls' scholarships. To date, these projects have impacted the lives of over one million children.

John Wood's recent memoir, "Leaving Microsoft to Change the World" (Harper Collins 2006) traces the incredible journey of Room to Read from John's first book delivery in Nepal to the world class organization it is today.

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