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Room to Read Wins Social Capitalist Award For Fourth Consecutive Year

November 16, 2006

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Room to Read, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children in developing countries gain the lifelong gift of education, has been selected for the fourth consecutive year as a winner of the Social Capitalist Award sponsored by Fast Company magazine and the Monitor Group, a global consulting firm.

The program honors non-profits, or "social entrepreneurs," who combine creativity and ingenuity with business solutions to address social ills, ranging from poor healthcare in developing nations to unequal education access, homelessness, unemployment and substance abuse in the United States.

Making A Profit And Making A Difference

More and more, business-minded social entrepreneurs are helping to shape a new version of capitalism-one that melds financial success with social responsibility. This year, Fast Company and Monitor Group have put numbers to this trend, assessing and honoring organizations among the Social Capitalist Award winners that demonstrate excellence in creating and sustaining partnerships with for-profit companies. Through these deals, social entrepreneurs and businesses are raising the stakes, creating both business and social impact.

"If business inevitably shapes the future, it has a responsibility to help choose what the future will be," said Mark Vamos, editor of Fast Company. "Corporate America is well-served to look for guidance on seizing this future from social entrepreneurs.

"Our Social Capitalist Awards winners have forged partnerships that blur commerce and charity, challenging our assumptions about making a profit and making a difference," Vamos said. "Their alliances help big business bring conscience to commerce, changing old-style capitalism as we know it."

Investor's Guide to Giving

Fast Company partners with the Monitor Group, a global strategy-consulting firm, to select award winners. Monitor Group created the methodology used to compare non-profits of different sizes and ages across social sectors.

The Monitor Group manages the evaluation process for the awards program and measures each organization's work in five categories: social impact, entrepreneurship, innovation, aspiration and growth, and sustainability.

"Prior to the Social Capitalist Awards, no ranking process or 'seal of approval' existed as an authoritative standard for achievement among social entrepreneurs," said Mark Fuller, chairman and CEO of Monitor Group. "Our evaluation measures the impact and effectiveness of these non-profits, making it, among other things, an ideal investor's guide for those who want their charitable dollars to get the highest 'social' return possible."

Rigorous Evaluation

Nominees were evaluated based on an application that included two years of operating and financial data, a statement of mission and objectives, and answers to a survey to assess strategy and activities. Winners were selected by an independent board.

About Fast Company and Monitor Group

Fast Company, founded in 1996, is a magazine for and about the creative class. It is a journal of change and changemakers - dynamic, compelling leaders in both the for-profit and non-profit spheres who are making dramatic innovations to shape the future. Visit for more information.

The Monitor Group is a family of professional services firms, linked by shared ownership, management philosophy, and knowledge assets. Each entity in Monitor's global network is dedicated to providing products and services that fundamentally enhance the competitiveness of its clients. Visit for more information.