Awards & Recognition

NGO Advisor Top 500 NGOs: 2016 (#13), 2015 (#23), 2014 (#26)

NGOAdvisorNGO Advisor is a Geneva-based independent media organization committed to highlighting innovation, impact and governance in the nonprofit sector. They research, evaluate and rank NGOs in order to showcase the best practices and newest ideas in the nonprofit sector and aim to be a mirror for the evolving values of the global nonprofit sector and spark debate about the nature of nonprofit work.  Room to Read continues to climb the ranks in this global list.

Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year: 2014

schwab foundation for social entrepreneurshipThe Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship Recognizes Room to Read for Innovative Approach and Global Impact. Erin Ganju, Room to Read co-founder and CEO, is one of 37 social entrepreneurs working in health, education, employment, and the environment recognized by the Schwab Foundation as the Social Entrepreneurs of the Year 2014. The winners were selected in recognition of their innovative approaches and potential for global impact. 

Young Presidents' Organization, SEN Philanthrophy Award: 2014

sen young presidentsRoom to Read has been recognized by the Social Engagement Network (SEN) of the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) with the SEN Philanthropy Award in the Corporate Philanthropy category. The YPO SEN Awards aim to discover and recognize innovative YPO members who are committed to advance the existing framework of business in the fields of inclusive sustainable-business, the environment and philanthropy.

Library of Congress Literacy Award, Rubenstein Prize: 2014

Amongst a number of recommendations, from a broad range of experts in the field of literacy and reading promotion, Librarian of Congress James H. Billington has selected Room to Read to be the recipient of the Rubenstein Prize, one of three categories of the 2014 Library of Congress Literacy Awards. The prize is awarded to an organization that meets the highest standards of excellence in its operations and systems, has made outstanding and measurable contributions in increasing literacy levels, and has demonstrated exceptional and sustained depth and breadth in its commitment to the advancement of literacy.

GreatNonprofits Top-Rated Award: 2013, 2014

GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations, rated Room to Read on their Top-Rated List for 2013. The Top-Rated Nonprofit award is based on the large number of positive reviews that Room to Read received - reviews written by volunteers and donors. Post your own review of Room to Read.

The Global Journal's “Top 100 NGOs”: 2012 & 2013.

In the two years that the European publication The Global Journal has been naming its list of the world's Top 100 NGOs, Room to Read has consistently been selected out of the thousands of organizations operating globally. Most recently in 2013, Room to Read was ranked #26 in the world, and third in the education category.The rankings, released annually, take into consideration a wide variety of factors, including innovation, impact, transparency, and strategic and financial management. Read the full feature on Room to Read.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Confucius Prize for Literacy: 2011.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) awarded Room to Read one of their two recipients of the 2011 Confucius Prize for Literacy in recognition of excellence and inspiring experiences in the field of literacy throughout the world. Room to Read was chosen for its efforts to improve literacy utilizing the talents of local writers and illustrators to create culturally-relevant reading materials in local languages through its Local Language Publishing program. Read the full press release.

AED Breakthrough Ideas in Education

The Academy for Educational Development (AED), one of the world's foremost educational and social development organizations, awarded Room to Read's Local Language Publishing program one of six "Breakthrough Ideas in Education" prizes. 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 applauded Room to Read for this unique program that supports the free exchange of information and knowledge in education.

American Library Association Presidential Citation

Room to Read was awarded the Presidential Citation during the American Library Association 2008 Annual Conference in Anaheim, California for its international innovation. The award was presented by Loriene Roy, ALA-Past President, 2007-2008.

Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship

The Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship support social entrepreneurs whose work has the potential for large-scale influence on critical challenges of our time. Award recipients are innovators who have achieved proof of concept, are poised to replicate or scale up toward systemic social change, and have a message that will resonate with those whose resources are crucial to advancing large-scale, long-term solutions. Room to Read won the Skoll award in 2004, 2006 and 2010; the most recent award included a three-year US$1.2 million grant for capacity building.

Fast Company/Monitor Social Capitalist Award

The Fast Company/Monitor Social Capitalist Award is the only award program that quantitatively measures a non-profit group's innovation and social impact, as well as the viability and sustainability of its business model. Room to Read is one of only a few organizations that has won the award every year since the award's inception.

TIME Asia's Heroes Award

In 2004, the TIME Asia's Heroes Award spotlighted Room to Read founder John Wood as one of 20 individuals who have done something brave, bold, or remarkable before they've reached the age of 40. John was the only non-Asian recipient of the award.

Draper Richards Fellowship Award

The Draper Richards Foundation provides awards and early stage funding to social entrepreneurs, with a vision of changing the world. Draper Richards Foundations rely on the same due-diligence process and business acumen that brought them success in the financial world. John Wood and Room to Read won the Draper Richards Fellowship Award in 2002.

Sand Hill Group Foundation Social Entrepreneurship Award

The Sand Hill Group Foundation awards grants annually, to U.S.-based non-profit organizations helping to improve the lives of low-income women and children. In 2006, The Foundation recognized Room to Read with its first annual Social Entrepreneurship Award to recognize forward thinking companies.

All Awards

  • NGO Advisor Top 500 NGOs: 2016 (#13), 2015 (#23), 2014 (#26)
  • GreatNonprofits Top-Rated Award: 2013
  • The Global Journal "Top 100 Best NGOs in the World": 2012, 2013
  • Cambodian International Board of Books for Young People Award: 2011
  • UNICEF's "Best Early Childhood Development Publication of the Year" Award (South Africa): 2011
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Confucius Prize for Literacy: 2011
  • Academy for Educational Development "Breakthrough Ideas in Education" Award: 2007
  • American Library Association "Presidential Citation": 2008
  • Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship: 2004-2005, 2006-2008, 2009, 2010-2013
  • Fast Company / Monitor Group "Social Capitalist" Award: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
  • Charity Navigator's Top "4-Star" Rating: 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
  • South Asian Journalists Association "Outstanding Story on Any Subject: New Media" Award for "Nepal: A Girls' Life": 2008
  •'s "Force for Change" Award: 2007
  • University of San Francisco "Asia Pacific Leadership" Award: 2007
  • Sand Hill Group Foundation "Social Entrepreneurship" Award: 2006
  • Laos Book Excellence Award for Local Language Publishing: 2007, 2008, 2010
  • Nepalese Society for Children's Literature Award: 2004, 2005, 2009
  • Draper Richards Foundation Fellowship: 2002-2004

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Literacy Program Schools 18,699
Books Checked Out per Student


Books Published 1,290
Books Distributed 18 Million
Girls' Education Participants


Children Benefited 10.7 million

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