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Room to Read And Ketchum Join Forces To Support Worldwide Literac

December 17, 2008

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Leading public relations agency, Ketchum, has committed to an exclusive, long-term relationship with Room to Read, an innovative, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting global literacy and the importance of education in breaking the cycle of poverty in the developing world.

Room to Read was selected as Ketchum's ‘nonprofit client-of-choice' following an expression of interest among Ketchum employees to put their expertise, experience, and best practices in social responsibility toward a universal cause. As a result, the partnership provides the opportunity for Ketchum offices around the world to support Room to Read's initiatives by helping the organization further build its brand awareness and promote its successes worldwide through strategic communications consulting. Ketchum also recently launched a fundraising drive to encourage its employees to donate to Room to Read.

"Room to Read is a one-of-a-kind organization, with an inspiring mission and impressive results," said David Gallagher, Ketchum senior partner, EMEA, CEO, London, and the head of Ketchum's Room to Read partnership. "Room to Read's leadership and goals are in sync with Ketchum's, and we are eager to contribute to the success of the organization by becoming a long-term partner and joining Room to Read in its commitment to educate the world's children."

Room to Read was founded in 2000 by John Wood, a former Microsoft executive who left the corporate world to create the nonprofit organization following a trek he took through Nepal where he saw the educational disparity first-hand. Wood's background was instrumental in the organization's overarching goals and business planning, which have been major contributors to its success.

With more than 250 million children who are not enrolled in school and more than 774 million adults worldwide who cannot read or write, Wood set out to become an agent of change to reverse the effects of poverty in the world's most rural areas. It is Wood's belief that increased educational opportunities can dramatically improve nutrition and overall health, lower infant mortality rates and increase income levels - all key metrics that determine the fate of a community - to repair the deep wounds of generations of poverty.

"Our partnership with Ketchum will provide tremendous opportunities for Room to Read to continue to help children in the developing world gain the lifelong gift of education," said John Wood. "We look forward to a productive and long-lasting relationship with the world-class team at Ketchum, as we advance toward our goal of leading a global movement of people who are passionate about breaking the cycle of poverty through education."

The organization's mission is based on five key programs:

  • The Reading Room Program, which establishes libraries and stocks them with Room to Read's published local-language children's books, donated English-language books, games and furniture to create a child-friendly learning environment.
  • The School Room Program, which partners with local communities to build schools for children to be able to learn in a safe environment.
  • The Girls' Education program, which provides long-term, holistic support enabling girls to pursue and complete their education.
  • A Local Language Publishing Program, which sources new content from local writers and artists and publishes high-quality children's books in both the local languages and in English.
  • A Computer Room Program, which establishes computer labs to provide students access to 21st century technology.

About Ketchum

A communications innovator, Ketchum ranks among the largest global public relations agencies, operating in more than 50 countries. With five global practices - Brand Marketing, Corporate, Healthcare, Food and Nutrition, and Technology, and specialty capabilities that include Access Communications (high- and consumer-tech PR, Concentric Communications (experiential marketing, events and meetings), MMG (clinical trial recruitment), Ketchum Global Research Network, Ketchum Sports and Entertainment Marketing, and Stromberg Consulting (change management and workplace communications), Ketchum leverages its marketing and corporate communications expertise to build brands and reputations for clients. For more information on Ketchum, a unit of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE:OMC), visit