March 14, 2006
Room to Read today announced that is has received a US$1,215,000 three-year award from The Skoll Foundation to establish more than 5,700 new community libraries and expand its education programs into 11 additional countries over the next five years. The award is one of 16 Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship that identify, fund and celebrate the most innovative and effective approaches to resolving critical social issues.
Room to Read, an organization devoted to providing educational opportunities to children in the developing world, opened its 2,500th bilingual library in 2005 and donated its millionth book in November 2005. It was founded by John Wood, a former Microsoft executive who left the company in 1999 in order to devote "the next chapter of my adult life" to providing the lifelong gift of education to children in some of the world's poorest communities.
Room to Read helps communities to build schools, libraries, and computer and language labs in Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. During 2006, the organization will begin its expansion into Africa.
"Our schools and libraries represent the hope that Room to Read brings to the children of the developing world," said John Wood, Founder and CEO of Room to Read. "Through education, we can provide a brighter future, an opportunity to forever break the cycle of poverty, and a foundation for peace and prosperity. The Skoll Foundation award is critical for our continued growth, as it allows us to think big, to continue to scale, and to build much-needed infrastructure and capacity."
"Room to Read reflects the essence of a Skoll social entrepreneur: a practical innovator who resolves social problems and builds civil society's infrastructure and effectiveness. Each organization in our portfolio of Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship is tackling a complex social problem in order to promote healthy, sustainable communities. Room to Read is no exception. Together with our other social entrepreneurs, John Wood represents an incredibly powerful force for systemic social change," said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation.
Headquartered in California's Silicon Valley, the Skoll Foundation was created by eBay's first president, Jeff Skoll, to promote his vision for a more peaceful and prosperous world. Today the Skoll Foundation advances systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs - individuals dedicated to pioneering new solutions that result in lasting improvements to complex social problems.
Room to Read is also a three-time winner of the Social Capitalist award sponsored by Fast Company magazine and the Monitor Group, and was named as one of Time Magazine's 2004 "Asian Heroes".
About the Skoll Foundation
The Skoll Foundation advances systemic change to benefit communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs - individuals dedicated to pioneering new solutions that result in lasting improvements to complex social problems. The Skoll Foundation invests in social entrepreneurs through the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship. It connects them through Social Edge, an online community at www.socialedge.org and via the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Said Business School, Oxford University. It celebrates social entrepreneurs through projects such as The New Heroes, a public television documentary series that tells 12 dramatic stories of social entrepreneurs who bring innovative, empowering solutions to intractable social problems around the world. For more information, visit www.skollfoundation.org.