FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ROOM TO READ WINS SOCIAL CAPITALIST AWARD FOR IMPROVING LITERACY IN ASIA
Distinction Awarded by Fast Company And The Monitor Group to Honor Organizations Using Business Excellence to Engineer Social Change
New York, NY – December 21, 2004 – Room to Read, a nonprofit
organization dedicated to helping children in developing countries gain the lifelong gift of
education, has been selected for the second consecutive year as a winner of the Social
Capitalist Award sponsored by Fast Company magazine and the Monitor Group, a global consulting
The Social Capitalist Awards were introduced in 2003 to recognize organizations that use
creativity, business smarts, and hard work to invent a brighter future. These dynamic
organizations are the Googles, Amazons, and Microsofts of the social sector: They invent
technologies to serve the poor and build groundbreaking products that serve market needs in
developing nations. They devise ingenious ways to do well and do good.
Room to Read is among a group of 25 winners to be featured in the January issue of Fast
Company. "During 2004, we hit significant milestones including the opening of our 100th
school and the establishment of our 1,000th library. This award is a great capstone to close a
tremendous year," said John Wood, founder of Room to Read.
The Fast Company Social Capitalist Award is the sole distinction in the non-profit sector that
quantitatively measures a non-profit group's innovation and social impact, as well as the
viability and sustainability of its business model. From helping underprivileged children
attend college and making health care available to those in destitute corners of the world, to
rectifying third world labor abuses and financing underprivileged business owners—this
year's award winners are as diverse as they are groundbreaking.
"The Social Capitalist Award winners represent a global movement of entrepreneurs who've
chosen to apply their skills to the common good," said Fast Company editor-in-chief John
Byrne. "In the meantime, they're redefining what it means to be a 'successful business,'
and are proving, without question, that the goals of altruism can jibe with the means of
"Whatever our professions, we are all citizens, and we all care deeply about unmet social
needs—which is precisely where social entrepreneurs make their essential
contribution," said Monitor Group CEO Mark B. Fuller. "But good intentions are not
enough. The Social Capitalists are so special because they translate that vision into action,
and meet the harsh market standards of performance and accountability."
How the Winners Were Chosen
Fast Company, in partnership with the Monitor Group, chose the second annual Social Capitalist
Award winners from a pool of 118 organizations, half of them nominated by a panel of prominent
funders, academics and other experts, and the rest self-nominated. Each participating
organization submitted to a rigorous screening process requiring financial records, business
plans, and online surveys. Groups were graded in five distinct categories: Entrepreneurship,
Innovation, Social Impact, Aspiration and Sustainability. Final grades included adjustments
based on structured telephone interviews with each group's executive director and with
independent experts qualified to speak about each organization. To learn more about the Fast
Company/Monitor Social Capitalist Awards, or to donate money to one of the award winners,
About Room to Read
Room to Read's mission is to provide under-privileged children in Cambodia, India, Nepal, and
Vietnam with an opportunity to gain the lifelong gift of education. Focusing on results, the
team has built 109 schools, established over 1500 libraries, donated 440,000 books and granted
more than 900 long-term girls' scholarships. Over 90% of donations go directly into programs.
To find out more, and to view photos of their work, please visit www.roomtoread.org.
About Fast Company
Founded in 1996 and published monthly, Fast Company (www.fastcompany.com) covers ideas, trends and
individuals devoted to managing change in today's economy. The magazine was acquired in 2000
by Gruner + Jahr USA, one of America's largest magazine publishers.
About Monitor Group
Monitor Group, a family of strategy, advisory, and merchant banking firms linked by shared
knowledge, skills, and experience—is dedicated to enhancing both the competitiveness of
its clients and the practical realization of their animating moral purpose.
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