Education transforms children’s futures — their job opportunities, civic participation, even their health. It provides more choices for students and their families, improving their quality of life in a single generation. A new generation of educated children can turn the tide on crises like hunger, conflict and discrimination, building a better world for everyone.

In 2017, you helped 2.2 million girls and boys access life-changing educational opportunities.

Thank you
For being a game changer for children around the globe.
  • This is Somitra
    With an Education

    When children are educated, they are healthier. Their job opportunities improve. For every year that they stay in school, their earnings increase by 10%. They are more civically engaged and less dependent on social welfare. They are more likely to educate their own children and break the cycle of generational poverty.

    This is Somitra
    Without an Education

    When kids are not educated, they have lower life expectancies. They are more likely to engage in child labor and potentially dangerous work. Their earning potential is limited: Illiterate people earn 30%– 42% less than their literate counterparts. They are more susceptible to intolerant thinking and exploitation.

  • This is Louda
    With an Education

    When a girl is educated, she is better equipped to meet day-to-day challenges and is more independent. She’ll wait longer to get married and have fewer and healthier children. Providing her with even one year of secondary education can boost her wages as much as 25%, and she’ll reinvest 90% of her income into her family.

    This is Louda
    Without an Education

    A girl who is not educated is more likely to marry before the age of 18. She is at greater risk of teenage pregnancy, and her children are more than twice as likely to die before age five. Her job opportunities are fewer, and she has less control over household resources. She is more susceptible to domestic violence.

  • This is a Community
    With an Education

    A community with educated members is stronger and more stable. Citizens are more likely to hold secure, well-paying jobs. Economic participation is greater and more diversified. Community health improves: Completing lower secondary school increases a person’s odds of not reporting poor health by 18% compared with having no education. Civic involvement and inclusion improve.

    This is a Community
    Without an Education

    Without an educated population, a community is more likely to suffer from disease and widespread poverty. Its citizens are less likely to know their rights and to vote. Intolerance and feelings of disenfranchisement rise. It is more susceptible to crime and economic instability.

  • This is a Country
    With an Education

    A country with an educated citizenry is more prosperous. Income per capita increases by 23% over 40 years in a country with more equal education. Its population growth slows. Political participation is more robust. It is more likely to be peaceful: Raising the male secondary enrollment ratio by 10 percentage points decreases the risk of war by 25%.

    This is a Country
    Without an Education

    Without educated citizens, a country’s economic and social progress is limited. Birth rates rise, and more women die in childbirth. Its economy is constrained by a reduced and underachieving workforce. The risks of political corruption, a weak justice system and human rights abuses increase. It is more susceptible to extremism and conflict.

Letters from the CEO & Board Chair

Dear Room to Read Family,

As a staunch believer in the power of education to drastically improve lives, it gives me great joy to partner with you as Room to Read’s new CEO. Since our founding in 2000, we have developed and implemented proven solutions for teaching children to read and enabling girls to excel in school. Now, we are focused on sharing our expertise broadly — so every child, everywhere, has the opportunity to maximize her or his potential.

The idea of education as a transformational force is one that resonates personally for me. Just one generation ago, child marriage was common in my family. My mother, however, made the decision at the age of 13 not to get married. Despite immense pressure, she chose instead to pursue an education and train as a nurse in the Indian Army. She used her training to come to the U.S. on a nursing visa, put herself through school, earned a doctorate and built an illustrious career. She also invested in her sisters’ educations, so they too were able to break free from societal barriers. My education was a given, as it is today for my daughter.

My mother’s story is proof that knowledge gives you the advantage of choice and dignity. Her bold choice altered our entire family’s trajectory and allowed me to dedicate my life to accelerating social impact to benefit others. Education can ensure that millions are able to exercise the same rights that I have been afforded, and it is a great honor to run an organization like Room to Read that is well-positioned to bring educational opportunities to children on a remarkable scale.

Room to Read is paving the path for long-term systemic change across low-income communities through our innovative solutions and partnerships. The challenges of global illiteracy and gender inequality in education and their repercussions are enormous, but we have the tools to eradicate them. We have strong proof that our programs work in diverse contexts. Children in grade two in our Literacy Program in India, Laos and Nepal can read three times as many words per minute and correctly answer more than twice as many comprehension questions as their peers. More than 4,800 girls have graduated from our Girls’ Education Program, and 78 percent of our 2016 graduates enrolled in tertiary education or found employment within one year post-graduation. By reaching even one child we can catalyze social impact far into the future; and, by working at the systems level, we can multiply that impact exponentially to provide solutions to communities and entire countries.

Together, we will reach 16.6 million children by the end of 2018 with game-changing educational programs. We have the solutions to reach many more. With 250 million children around the world not learning the basics and 130 million girls out of school, we must extend our impact as quickly as possible.

We can only set and achieve ambitious goals because of your commitment to solving these challenges in our lifetimes. Thank you for joining us so faithfully and joyfully, as we push forward to reach and impact many more millions of children in the years to come.

Geetha Murali Signature Dr. Geetha Murali, CEO
Read More

Dear Friends,

Back in 2010, on my first Room to Read trek to Cambodia, I watched Dum Haway, a graduate of our Girls’ Education Program, stand up and address the serried ranks of severe-looking local officials. She gave a confident, fluent speech about her life, which was dominated by an alcoholic father and a sick mother, and her education, which had been enabled by support from Room to Read. Such was her spirited tale that she managed the rare feat of upstaging a typically passionate address from Room to Read founder John Wood, who had stoically delivered his words despite the acute pain of a poisonous spider bite. Altogether, a memorable scene.

As a Financial Times (FT) reporter, I had come across Room to Read a few years earlier, impressed by the facts, the figures and the purpose. The FT takes facts seriously, and it knows about well-run organizations. Through that lens, the effectiveness and efficiency of Room to Read was striking. So, too, was its mission. The FT reports every day on social, political, health and environmental crises — many of which would be addressed more effectively if we could improve the literacy skills of the world’s 750 million illiterate population.

To see firsthand the human impact and the commitment of the team, though, was something that I couldn’t have understood through reading. And the images and experiences of that day in Cambodia have stayed with me through the years that I have had the privilege of working with Room to Read, both on the board and now as global chair.

Since then, there have been many inspirational moments: achieving the ambitious target of benefiting 10 million children well ahead of schedule, celebrating reaching 50,000 girls through our Girls’ Education Program while on the board trek to northern India last year and distributing more than 24 million children’s books. There have been many changes and much progress: the teaching methodology; the innovations around care and delivery, such as the wonderful female mentors enlisted to advocate for and support girls; the systemic scaling through Room to Read Accelerator’s technical assistance work; and the rise of our regional boards as sources of expertise and financial support. All of these initiatives represent NGO best practices in a vital mission and are taking Room to Read to the scale that the challenges of global illiteracy and gender inequality in education require.

Meantime, Dum Haway went to university — the first in her family to do so. Now she has a job she couldn’t have dreamed of without the support of Room to Read. She is paying for her brothers and sisters to go through school and university, and she inspired her father to cease drinking.

Amidst this change and progress, there have been some essential constants — the dedication of the global Room to Read team and the informed generosity of our donors around the world. They recognize that while illiteracy doesn’t grab the headlines like other causes do, it is perhaps the most fundamental obstacle to global progress and fair opportunity. I know, from my vantage point at the FT, that “culture” is an over-used term in business and organizations. But the culture of Room to Read is real and remarkable. It’s a great team, led by an excellent new CEO, whose story speaks for itself. With their expertise, and your sustained support, we can achieve permanent and positive change.

John Ridding Signature John Ridding, Board Chair
Read More
Changing the game for children:



Helping children around the world to develop the reading skills and habits they need to thrive in school and beyond

Children Benefited

New in 2017

Schools Benefited

New in 2017

Books Published

New in 2017

Average Number
of Books
Checked Out
per School




*Results now include impact from Room to Read Accelerator projects. Since 2015, we have benefited more than 1.5 million children through technical assistance in literacy instruction, library and book publishing projects.

Girls’ Education

Supporting girls in low-income communities to complete their secondary education and develop key life skills so they can reach their full potential

Girls Benefited

Total in 2017

Girls Who
Life Skills


rate among girls
who stayed in


Girls who graduated secndary school

New in 2017
More Than
of 2016 graduates enrolled in further education or found work within the first year after graduation
Changing how children learn:


We continually look for ways to improve our interventions, including developing new activities and materials to better address educational gaps.

sAy WHAT? orAL
Language Interventions

Can’t read this phrase written in Lao? Neither can roughly one-third of children in Laos, who speak one of the country’s 219 other languages — none of which are taught in Laos’ government schools.

To help these and other children in linguistically diverse areas thrive in school, we’ve developed oral language interventions to rapidly improve their oral skills (vocabulary, grammar, listening comprehension and speaking) in the language of instruction. We began piloting these interventions in Laos and India in 2017 and will study their impact on students’ literacy skills over two years.

First Steps:
Decodable Storybooks

Before you can run, you first have to learn to walk. Reading is similar. Beginning readers need to build their skills and confidence on simple texts before they can tackle more challenging materials.

Low-income countries often lack materials designed for these earliest readers, which is why we created full-color “decodable” storybooks that use limited vocabulary based on letters and sounds that children have already learned. These books align with school curricula and allow students to discover the joy of independently reading an entire book just a few months into grade one.

We published 25 decodable titles globally in 2017 to kick-start children’s love of reading.


Father of Chitra, Girls’ Education Program Participant, Nepal

“A daughter is no less than a son. If daughters are given equal opportunities and education, they can become great leaders ... together with Room to Read’s social mobilizers, we have persuaded some fathers who were against girls’ education.”

DID YOU KNOW? As many as 3 out of 5 people cannot access education in a language that they speak or understand. Our oral language interventions could help students from linguistic minority groups around the world keep up in school.


Mother of Kien, Literacy Program Student, Vietnam

“I did not have a quality education. My life is full of hard labor with very little income. So, when I see that my son really loves reading books, I am very happy. Even though I cannot read well, I always sit with him, listen as he reads and talk with him about the stories. I want to encourage his love of studying and reading as much as possible.”

Money Smarts: Girls And Financial Literacy

Financial education is often considered a family matter. If your parents lack financial knowledge, you can miss out on learning about money and savings, and girls in low-income countries are even less likely to learn about these topics due to inequitable gender norms.

In 2017, we began designing financial education life skills clubs to supplement our Girls’ Education Program curriculum and deepen girls’ knowledge about a range of money matters. Credit Suisse funded the development of the club materials in partnership with Aflatoun International, a leading expert in financial skills programs.

The clubs, which were introduced at 28 schools in Sri Lanka and Tanzania in 2018, teach girls about topics ranging from understanding needs versus wants to creating a business plan.

True Story: Nonfiction Children’s Texts

Most of what we read every day is nonfiction. Yet, when we surveyed our program countries, only 7 percent of available books for grades one through three were child-friendly nonfiction.

To improve this selection, we developed trainings on how to write, illustrate and design nonfiction children’s books. In 2017, we partnered with RTI International and the ministries of education in mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar to use these trainings to create new Swahili-language nonfiction titles.

Through the project, which was part of USAID’s Tusome Pamoja (Let’s Read Together) initiative, we produced 32 engaging books about local culture, foods and animals for distribution in local primary schools. We also shared tips on how teachers can pair these and other nonfiction books with school curricula.

Five Reasons Children Need Nonfiction Texts

  • 1. Prepare students for reading in later grades
  • 2. Expand vocabulary and knowledge
  • 3. Offer solutions to real-life problems
  • 4. Aid second-language learners
  • 5. Motivate reluctant readers by capitalizing on children’s interests


Literacy Program Student, South Africa

“I borrow one book from the school library each week. I tell my friends to read as much as I do to encourage them to do better in their schoolwork and not to make noise in class. My dream when I grow up is to become a scientist because I want to know more about the world and share my knowledge.”

Changing how systems work:

Partnership & Scale

To accelerate our impact , we seek opportunities to expand to new geographies, share our learnings and promote supportive educational environments and policies.

New Ground: Arabic-language Storybooks

It’s estimated that nearly 90,000 children in Jordan — two-thirds of whom are Syrian refugees — are out of school.

In 2017, we partnered with 36 local authors and illustrators and three Jordanian publishers to create our first Arabic-language storybooks for these and other children in Jordan. Through the project, which was funded by Dubai Cares as part of the United Arab Emirates’ Reading Nation Campaign, we created 20 colorful new titles, half of which feature storylines centered on the refugee experience.

More than 600,000 copies of the books were distributed to primary schools, refugee camps, municipal libraries and orphanages across the country.

Joint Effort: Best Practices In Life Skills Education

In order to succeed in school and beyond, girls need to develop key life skills such as critical thinking, decision-making and perseverance. Girls in low-income communities often struggle to develop these skills due to social and cultural barriers, and school curricula rarely address these skills directly.

To address this challenge in India, we organized a one-day consultation to bring together key players in girls’ education and gender equality to discuss various interventions and best practices in supporting girls to thrive in school, particularly through life skills education. Representatives from 38 organizations — including local and international nonprofits, bi- and multilateral agencies, grantmakers and government personnel — met to learn about and debate possible frameworks for implementing large-scale programs across the country.

Following the consultation, we joined a core group of organizations to create a national-level action plan to help girls excel in school.

DID YOU KNOW? Although it is spoken with 30 different variations, written Arabic is universal. This means that our new Arabic-language children’s books can be enjoyed by students in Jordan — and beyond!


Primary School Principal, Laos

“When I was growing up, education was very different from today. There were no textbooks, instruction for teachers, teaching materials or storybooks. I’m really passionate about doing something different in my community ... I have a dream to see better change. I want this school to become a good model for other schools in the district.”

Good Reads: Indigenous-language Publishing Recommendations

South Africa has 11 official languages, but very few children’s books exist for children who don’t speak English or Afrikaans.

To address this gap, we partnered with the South African government, local nonprofits and publishers to grow the country’s children’s book industry and promote reading in indigenous languages. The two-year project is funded by Results in Education for All Children (REACH) trust fund at the World Bank and the Global Book Alliance. It launched in 2017 with

the development of national recommendations for creating and selecting quality children’s storybooks.

These recommendations will be shared with government school library book purchasers, publishers and nonprofits across South Africa. They will also be used to create 20 original storybooks that will be printed in five languages (Sepedi, siSwati, Xitsonga, Tshivenda and isiZulu) and distributed to government schools in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.

Five ways we help girls to protect their bodies and themselves

  • 1. Create safe spaces for critical conversations
  • 2. Provide girls with an advocate
  • 3. Identify inappropriate behavior to prevent assault
  • 4. Share the red flags of unhealthy relationships
  • 5. Foster assertive communication

Speaking Out: White Ribbon Campaigns

Gender equality is not just a women’s issue. Men and boys are important partners in strengthening women’s rights, which is why we seek to engage them when possible in our Girls’ Education Program through family and community activities.

One way we do this in Cambodia is by encouraging girls to join annual White Ribbon campaigns, which engage men and boys in ending violence against women and girls and promoting gender equality.

In 2017, students, parents, teachers and community members of both sexes marched through busy village locations, attended speeches and participated in role-playing activities to illustrate how men and boys can support positive change. In addition to these awareness-raising activities, male community members were also asked to pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.


Girls’ Education Program Participant, Bangladesh

“I was very scared to speak out once, but now I can communicate easily with others. I can differentiate good and bad, and the best thing is now I can say, ‘No.’ Recently, my friends and I prevented a child marriage. We are committed to stopping child marriage in our society. I’m confident, and I have a dream to be a journalist so I can bring accurate news and truth to people.”

Global Engagement

Our global community makes our work possible. Your advocacy and support are transforming education for students around the world — and transforming their lives in the process. Thank you for all you do to eradicate illiteracy and advance gender equality in education!

Eight Game-changing Heroes of 2017


1. Emma Donoghue

Author Emma Donoghue graciously dedicated her royalties from her book series “The Lotterys” to support literacy and girls’ education.

2. Richard Blais

World-renowned chef Richard Blais ran the TCS New York City Marathon on behalf of Room to Read.

3. Garbiñe Muguruza

Elite tennis player and 2017 Wimbledon champion Garbiñe Muguruza became an ambassador for Room to Read and raised funding for our programs through her advocacy.

4. Executive Racers

More than 30 business executives from across the globe ran an 8-mile course for our annual Hong Kong’s Fastest Executive Race.

5. Dilshad Vadsaria

Actress and celebrity ambassador Dilshad Vadsaria hosted an online auction for Room to Read in honor of Giving Tuesday.

6. Rosie Atwell

Australian supporter Rosie Atwell climbed Mount Everest and used it as an opportunity to raise funds for our programs in Nepal.

7. TechBikers

For the sixth year, a group of supporters in the tech industry hopped on their bikes for a grueling three-day, 300-km ride from Paris to London in support of our work.

8. Spring Trekkers

Our Sydney chapter organized an annual 30-km fundraising trek through mountainous terrain.

Join The Movement

Are you an education game-changer? Join us online to share how you’re taking action and connect with other passionate individuals around the world.

Global law firm CMS got #ActiveforEducation at their annual Football Cup in Amsterdam

Leveling Up: New Chapters’ Webpages

Our chapters, a network of global volunteers across 40 cities, raise a significant portion of our annual budget. To date, they have benefited more than 1.5 million children through their creative activities.

In 2017, we overhauled our chapters’ online fundraising experience to further leverage the passion and energy that they dedicate to our cause. With the generous help of Atlassian, we launched new chapter webpages that help volunteers better connect, mobilize and fundraise in eight currencies concurrently — allowing their hard work to support even more children.

Changing The World: Further Reading

We’ve learned a lot about creating lasting positive change in the world since our founding in 2000. To share these learnings — and inspire more people to take action for meaningful causes — members of our leadership have released two new books:

Scaling Global Change: A Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Surviving the Start-up Phase and Driving Impact

Scaling Global Change: A Social Entrepreneur’s Guide to Surviving the Start-up Phase and Driving Impact by Erin Ganju and Dr. Cory Heyman

Room to Read Co-founder Erin Ganju and former Chief Innovation Officer Dr. Cory Heyman provide a how-to guide for building and scaling an impactful social enterprise, sharing the tools and lessons that have driven Room to Read’s growth and success.

Purpose, Incorporated: Turning Cause Into Your Competitive Advantage

Purpose, Incorporated: Turning Cause Into Your Competitive Advantage
by John Wood and Amalia McGibbon

Room to Read Founder John Wood partnered with coauthor Amalia McGibbon to document the growing trend of businesses that are both profitable and are giving back to society. Based on more than 100 interviews with entrepreneurs, executives and frontline staff, the book demonstrates how a cause can be harnessed as a key competitive advantage.

“My hope with ‘Purpose, Incorporated’ is to inspire conversations among work teams and employees at every level of an organization about building purpose into their organizations and careers.”

~ John Wood , Room to Read Founder


Room to Read in the media

Organizational Funders

Our corporate, foundation and government funders are integral to our success in advancing literacy and girls’ education globally. In 2017, these partners provided 41 percent of our total support and raised awareness for our mission in their influential networks.

Artha Capital enables the development and enhancement of projects critical to Room to Read’s mission. To date, Artha Capital has invested US$4.95 million in core support, helping Room to Read to progress toward our strategic goals and to reach more children than ever before with our life-changing programs.

Atlassian Foundation International has donated nearly US$8 million toward Room to Read’s programs. In 2017, Atlassian was the largest investor in our Girls’ Education Program in Cambodia and the largest corporate investor from Australia. Atlassian staff also provide significant personal support to Room to Read through their “$1 a Day” workplace giving program.

Since 2015, Bank of America-BA Continuum India (BACI) has supported Room to Read’s literacy efforts in India through the establishment of 84 libraries. BACI is also supporting thousands of girls in the Girls’ Education Program in India.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-funded a two-year evaluation of the impact of our Girls’ Education Program in India, with a specific focus on girls’ development of life skills. The evaluation’s results will be used to increase the effectiveness of the Girls’ Education Program’s global design and impact.

Through its e for Education initiative, CitiFX donated US$1 to education-focused nonprofits for every US$1 million notional of foreign exchange traded on various electronic platforms during the campaign. Room to Read and Citi have been partners since the inception of the campaign in 2013. More than US$890,000 was donated to Room to Read in 2017, bringing the firm’s total support for Room to Read to over US$3.1 million, benefiting over 62,000 children.

Since 2005, Credit Suisse has been one of our largest corporate supporters. They have funded multiple strategic projects, including the development of our 2015– 2019 strategic plan and the launch of Room to Read Accelerator. In 2017, we became a partner in the bank’s Global Education Initiative — Financial Education for Girls — working in Tanzania and Sri Lanka. Credit Suisse also donates office space for Room to Read staff in Hong Kong and Tokyo, and provides capacity-building to country teams through its Global Citizens Program.

Dubai Cares, part of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, is a key partner in Room to Read’s Nepal schools reconstruction and literacy efforts. Additionally, Dubai Cares has funded the development and distribution of over 600,000 Arabic children’s books in Jordan and over 2 million local language books in Cambodia, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Vietnam as part of its effort to support the UAE Reading Nation campaign.

In 2017, Echidna Giving invested in our Literacy and Girls’ Education Programs and 2015–2019 strategic plan goals. Echidna Giving is a leading thought partner for Room to Read in innovation, analysis, learning and system change.

Four Acre Trust has been a key partner to Room to Read since 2005 and has invested more than US$2 million to advance literacy and girls’ education in low-income communities. In addition to helping us launch our programs in Tanzania, they have also provided significant support to bring life-changing educational opportunities to children in Laos, South Africa and Zambia.

Through Goldman Sachs and Goldman Sachs Gives, the company and its senior executives have contributed more than US$22.2 million to Room to Read. In 2017, Goldman Sachs supported our Literacy and Girls’ Education Programs, benefiting more than 44,600 children.

In 2017, committed to a multiyear grant that will help improve the early reading experiences of more than 200,000 Indonesian students in two ways: increasing access to digital Bahasa Indonesia children’s stories through a new digital platform, and training teachers on effective reading activities. The grant, coupled with Google’s year-end employee giving contributions, is creating much-needed educational opportunities for children around the world.

In 2016, Room to Read launched a four-year partnership with the IKEA Foundation and IKEA’s Let’s Play for Change campaign, which supports children’s rights to play and develop. This partnership is supporting Room to Read’s programs in Bangladesh and Indonesia, benefiting 93,000 children.

In 2017, IMC held a Trading for Charity event across their U.S., Dutch and Australian locations that resulted in more than US$2 million in support to Room to Read to help children in Tanzania learn essential reading skills. Through this exciting initiative, IMC has contributed over US$3.7 million to Room to Read since 2016.

Myriad Asset Management has been a key partner of Room to Read since 2014. The Hong Kong–based company has helped more than 17,000 children to pursue a brighter future through education.

Through their Beautiful Faces, Beautiful Futures initiative, each Tatcha purchase supports girls’ education around the world. Since launching this partnership with Room to Read in 2014, Tatcha has supported more than 1.6 million days of school for girls.

In 2017, The Stone Family Foundation invested in Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program with a two-year grant to enhance gender equality in post-conflict settings. This partnership enables Room to Read to transform the lives of girls in Tanzania and share learnings and best practices across our other program countries.

Townsend Press, an independent publisher of acclaimed educational materials for students in grade school through college, has been a Room to Read partner since 2007. Townsend Press has funded core operating and program support for local-language book publication, library development and our Girls’ Education Program.

The UBS Optimus Foundation supported Room to Read’s post-earthquake recovery efforts in Nepal by funding reconstruction and our Literacy Program within six schools in Nuwakot, Nepal. This support is part of the UBS Optimus Emergency Response funding that includes quality children’s education as a crucial post-emergency intervention.

USAID India has invested approximately US$5.4 million to support an innovative early-grade reading program at scale in India, benefiting around 250,000 children in government primary schools through direct implementation and Room to Read Accelerator, across four states over a period of five years.

Top Organizational Funders 2017

$500,000 AND MORE

  • Atlassian Foundation International
  • Citi
  • Credit Suisse
  • Dubai Cares
  • Echidna Giving
  • Goldman Sachs
  • IKEA Foundation
  • IMC
  • UBS Optimus Foundation
  • United States Agency for International Development

$250,000 – $499,999

  • Artha Capital
  • Bank of America—BA Continuum India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Caerus Foundation, Inc. Four Acre Trust
  • Myriad Asset Management Ltd.
  • The Stone Family Foundation
  • Tatcha
  • Townsend Press

$100,000 – $249,999

  • Brin Wojcicki Foundation
  • BURGER KING McLAMORE™ Foundation
  • Caterpillar Foundation
  • Charities Aid Foundation of America on behalf of the generosity of Target
  • CMS Legal Services EEIG
  • EROL Foundation
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • Hilton
  • The Hoglund Foundation
  • HSBC
  • MetLife Foundation
  • Monsanto Fund
  • Oracle
  • Sensato Investors
  • Turning Leaf Foundation
  • Victory Square Blockchain Assembly

$50,000 – $99,999

  • Adani Foundation
  • Aditya Birla Group
  • AllianceBernstein
  • AT&T India
  • BAE Systems India Services Pvt. Ltd.
  • Bajaj Auto Ltd.
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Battery Powered
  • BNP Paribas India
  • The Boeing Company
  • Caffè Nero Foundation
  • Capco
  • Centre for Micro Finance
  • Creative Artists Agency
  • Dining Concepts Ltd.
  • Dodge & Cox
  • Eastman Chemical
  • Financial Times
  • Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
  • Gildan Activewear, Inc.
  • Green Leaves Education Foundation
  • JAAM Foundation
  • Kendeda Fund
  • LiveFullOut Media, Inc.
  • Matthews Asia
  • MoneyGram Foundation
  • Morgan Stanley India Co. Pvt. Ltd.
  • Nuix Pty. Ltd.
  • Renshaw Foundation
  • SJS Charitable Trust
  • The Spurlino Foundation
  • Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd.
  • UNICEF (India)
  • Whitehaven Coal
  • The World Bank

In-Kind Donors

  • Book Enterprises
  • Cisco Systems, Inc.
  • Credit Suisse
  • Gumdrop Books
  • Hilton
  • Ketchum
  • Oliver Wyman, Inc.
  • Reliance Capital
  • Scholastic
  • Tableau
  • Townsend Press
  • WeWork

Boards and Staff

Board of Directors

  • John Ridding, (Chair), CEO, Financial Times Group
  • Yusuf Alireza, CEO and Co-CIO, ARP Global Capital
  • Andrew Balls, Chief Investment Officer Global Fixed Income, PIMCO
  • Mary Byron, Former Partner, Goldman Sachs
  • Dr. Luis Crouch, Senior Economist, RTI
  • Carl Huttenlocher, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer, Myriad Asset Management
  • Scott Kapnick, CEO, HPS Investment Partners, LLC
  • Dr. Elizabeth M. King, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
  • John Lindfors, Managing Partner, DST Investment Management
  • Jerry del Missier, Executive Chairman, Copper Street Capital
  • Dr. Geetha Murali, CEO, Room to Read
  • Frank van Veenendaal, Former Executive Vice President, Salesforce
  • Susan Wojcicki, CEO, YouTube
  • John Wood, Founder, Room to Read

Emeritus Board

  • Hilary Valentine (Chair), Partner, Black & White Design
  • Chris Beer, Founding Member, Ironmark Law Group
  • Craig Bruya, Former CFO, Microsoft Business Solutions
  • Erin Ganju, Co-Founder, Room to Read and Managing Director, Echidna Giving
  • Peter T. Grauer, Chairman, Bloomberg Inc.
  • Tim Koogle, Former CEO and Chair, Yahoo!
  • Alastair Mactaggart, President, Emerald Fund
  • Kim Anstatt Morton, Advisory Board Member, Girl Rising
  • Dr. Fernando Reimers, Director of Global Education and International Education Policy, Harvard University
  • Muneer Satter, Chair, Satter Investment Management

Regional Boards


  • Mark Bedingham
  • Isabelle and Antoine Decitre
  • Ria and Helman Sitohang
  • Lynne and Michael Taylor
  • Justin Teo
  • Koh Toh Tzu and Antony Ng

Asia Pacific

  • Rebecca and Damien Brosnan
  • Asami and Ben Ferguson
  • Laura Howard and Dieter Turowski
  • Dina Khreino-Alireza and Yusuf Alireza
  • Camilla and John Lindfors
  • Valeria and Chris Mancini
  • Tamiko M. Lippit and Carl Huttenlocher
  • Kimberly Stafford and Ryan Korinke


  • Carrie and Steve Bellotti
  • Annie and Mike Cannon-Brookes
  • Zahra and Brett Godfrey
  • Alison and Charles Gorman
  • Emma and Andrew Gray
  • Nicolle and John Keith
  • Donna Yip and David Torrible


  • Asami and Ben Ferguson
  • Ayako and Eric Golden
  • Yuri and Tomoya Masanao
  • Susan and Theo Seltzer
  • Fred Towfigh

New York

  • Mary Byron
  • Richard and Sabine Chalmers
  • Sara Eisen and Matthew Levine
  • Peter T. Grauer
  • Sonny Kalsi
  • Scott Kapnick
  • Jaideep Khanna
  • Caryn Leventhal
  • Art Mbanefo
  • Marc Seidner


  • Jürgen Bauer
  • Patricia Horgan
  • Sarah and Aydin Kurt-Elli
  • David Mote
  • Laura and Robert Schmoll
  • Maria Vigil and Marco Pagliara
  • Tina Wüstemann

United Kingdom

  • Richard and Sabine Chalmers
  • Marisa Drew
  • Maria and Elio Leoni-Sceti
  • Art Mbanefo
  • Jane and Jerry del Missier
  • John Ridding
  • Joanna and Stuart Riley
  • Erica Wax and Andrew Balls
  • Randy Work

Leadership Team

Management Team

  • Dr. Geetha Murali, CEO
  • Shari Freedman, Chief Financial Officer
  • Laurie McMahon, Chief Development and Communications Officer
  • Danielle Reichner, Interim Chief of International Operations
  • Heather Simpson, Chief Program Officer
  • Pierre Towns, Chief Talent Officer

International Directors

  • Sourav Banerjee, India Country Director
  • Vantha Chea, Cambodia Country Director
  • Deepak Dogra, Director, Africa and International Operations
  • Vanessa Francis, South Africa Country Director
  • Shevanthi Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka Country Director
  • Peter Mwakabwale, Tanzania Country Director
  • Nuong Nguyen, Vietnam Country Director
  • Ujjwal Raj Pokhrel, Nepal Country Director
  • Rakhi Sarkar, Bangladesh Country Director
  • Christie Scott, Vice President, Program Operations
  • Dinesh Shrestha, Co-Founder and Director of Field Operations
  • Norkham Souphanouvong, Laos Country Director

List current as of 9/1/2018

Legacy Society

Martyn Gowar

Martyn Gowar is a Trustee of Room to Read UK. A retired solicitor, Martyn spent his working life helping people with their estate planning and was thrust into the limelight as the solicitor responsible for administering the late Princess Diana’s will and bequests.

Martyn has kindly chosen to support Room to Read’s work in his own will because he feels strongly that children everywhere should have the opportunity to enjoy a quality education.

Martyn says, “A good will is prepared with careful legal advice to ensure that all those to whom you owe a responsibility and the causes you are passionate about, like Room to Read, are protected and supported.”

The Legacy Society recognizes individuals who have made provisions for Room to Read through their estate plans. As a Legacy Society member, you are ensuring that the next generation of children has the educational resources and support needed to create a better life for themselves and their families. We are sincerely grateful to those who remember us through a bequest or other type of legacy gift.

For information, please contact


Our work is possible because of the generosity of our worldwide network. We are deeply committed to operating with the utmost financial efficiency and transparency so that you know your investments are providing the greatest benefit for the communities we serve.

Financial Highlights

Cash Donations
In-kind Donations
Spent on Programs

Donations by type of investor

Donations by type of investor

Functional Expense Breakdown

Functional Expense Breakdown

Sources of revenue by region

Donations by type of investor

Statement of Activities

For the years ending December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016 (USD)

Support and Revenue: 2017 2016
Corporations $13,147,452 $14,094,706
Foundations $5,485,416 $2,980,884
Individuals $27,231,726 $25,278,834
Schools and Other $2,100,169 $1,298,113
Total Donations $47,964,763 $43,652,537
Grant Revenue $1,291,498 $774,828
Donations In-Kind $5,621,152 $3,820,516
Investment and Other Income (Loss), Special Event Expenses, Fees $(852,581) $(163,711)
Total Support and Revenue $54,024,832 $48,084,170
Operating Expenses: 2017 2016
Program Services    
Literacy $10,089,841 $9,264,996
Girls' Education $2,241,720 $2,127,412
Donated Books and Supplies $5,321,821 $3,341,016
Conferences, Travel and Meeting Expenses $1,451,137 $2,350,724
Information Technology Expenses $1,299,191 $1,294,947
Monitoring and Evaluation $189,559 $172,212
Professional Fees $1,404,835 $2,682,356
Program Operating Expenses $2,783,022 $2,869,583
Program Personnel Expenses $20,866,566 $19,311,222
Total Program Services $45,647,692 $43,414,468
Management and General $2,230,405 $2,424,055
Fundraising $5,501,518 $5,891,111
Total Operating Expenses $53,379,615 $51,729,634
Translation adjustments $216,081 $141,920
Change in Unrestricted Net Assets $2,070,615 $(646,246)
Change in Temporarily Restricted Net Assets $(1,209,317) $(2,857,298)
Unrestricted Net Assets at Beginning of the Year $5,803,810 $6,450,056
Temporarily Restricted Net Assets at Beginning of the Year $11,775,117 $14,632,415
Net Assets at End of the Year $18,440,225 $17,578,927

Room to Read’s financial statements have been audited by independent certified public accountants and are available on our website.