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Room to Read


Room to Read was founded in 2000, based on the belief that education is crucial to breaking the cycle of poverty in the developing world. Founder John Wood launched Room to Read after a trek through Nepal where he visited schools with a shocking lack of resources. Compelled to take action, John adopted a bold vision to help 10 million children in the developing world gain the lifelong gift of education.


Room to Read partners with communities throughout the developing world to establish schools, libraries, and other educational infrastructure. We seek to intervene early in children's lives in the belief that education is a lifelong gift that empowers people to improve socioeconomic conditions for their families, communities, and future generations.



Room to Read has five core programs that provide educational resources to communities throughout the developing world:

Reading Room Program - We establish libraries and stock them with local language children's books published by Room to Read, donated English language books, games, furniture, and everything that is required to establish a child-friendly learning environment.

Local Language Publishing Program - We source new content from local writers and artists and publish children's books in the local language and in English. These books are distributed throughout our network of schools and libraries so that children have access to books in their local language and in English.

School Room Program - We partner with local communities to build schools so that children can learn in a safe environment.

Room to Grow Girls' Scholarship Program - We provide long-term scholarships to girls so they have the opportunity to go to school.

Computer & Language Room Program: We establish computer and language labs to provide students access to computer technology and to help them learn other languages, giving students access to better employment opportunities after graduation.


Room to Read's vision is bold - to help 10 million children in the developing world gain the lifelong gift of education.

Since our inception in 2000, Room to Read has impacted the lives of over 990,000 children by constructing 197 schools; establishing over 3,000 libraries; publishing 77 new local language children's titles representing over 690,000 books; donating over 1.2 million English language children's books; funding 2,079 long-terms girls' scholarships; and establishing 92 computer and language labs.


John Wood is the Founder and CEO of Room to Read. He started Room to Read after a fast-paced and distinguished career with Microsoft from 1991 to 1999. He was in charge of marketing and business development teams throughout Asia, including Director of Business Development for the Greater China region and as Director of Marketing for the Asia-Pacific region. John brings to Room to Read a vision for a scalable solution to developing world educational problems, an intense focus on results, and an ability to attract a world-class group of employees, volunteers, and investors. John focuses on long-term strategy, capital acquisition, public speaking, and media.

John was selected as the second recipient of the Draper Richards Fellowship, has twice been chosen for the Skoll Foundation award for social entrepreneurship, and has led Room to Read to three consecutive selections for the prestigious "Social Capitalist" by Fast Company magazine and the Monitor Group. In 2004, he was named as one of Time Magazine's "Asian Heroes" - the only non-Asian ever selected to receive this award. He is also the author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World (Harper Collins; September, 2006).

John is an active public speaker, especially to business audiences, on the subjects of corporate social responsibility and building a world-class non-profit organization. His work has been profiled by Bloomberg Television, CNBC, CNN, Fast Company, Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and USA Today. John holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Northwestern University and a Bachelor's of Arts degree in Finance from the University of Colorado.


Muneer A. Satter (Co-Chair)
Hilary Valentine (Co-Chair)
Marc Andreessen
Christopher Beer
Marjorie Craig Benton
Alastair Mactaggart
John Ridding
John Wood


Cambodia, India, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Viet Nam, South Africa, Zambia


111 Sutter Street
16th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: (415) 561-3331
EIN: 91-2003533

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