Room to Read seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in low-income communities by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education. Working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments, we develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children, and support girls to complete secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.
Room to Read
Room to Read is a non-profit organization for improving literacy and gender equality in education in the developing world. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, and founded on the belief that "World Change Starts With Educated Children," the organization focuses on working in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations and governments. Room to Read develops literacy skills and the habit of reading among primary school children, and supports girls in completing secondary school with the relevant life skills to succeed in school and beyond.
John Wood, founder and board co-chair, launched Room to Read in 1999 after a trek through Nepal where he visited several local schools. He was amazed by the warmth and enthusiasm of the students and teachers, but saddened by the shocking lack of resources. Driven to help, John quit his senior executive position with Microsoft and built a global team to work with rural villages to build sustainable solutions to their education challenges.
Beginning in Nepal, John and his Nepali Co-Founder, Dinesh Shrestha, started by working with rural communities to build schools (School Room) and establish libraries (Reading Room). John and Dinesh quickly recognized the need to expand the scope of work beyond libraries, and wanted to address the fact that many girls in the developing world are overlooked in the educational system due to cultural bias. To that end, in 2000, Room to Read began the Girls' Education program, which targets young girls and provides a long-term commitment to their education.
In 2001, co-founder and CEO Erin Keown Ganju spearheaded Room to Read's expansion into Vietnam. Since then, Room to Read's operations have expanded to include Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, South Africa, Sri Lanka and Zambia. In 2010, Room to Read celebrated its "Year of Tens," marking its ten-year anniversary with the opening of its 10,000th library in Nepal, along with the construction of its 1,000th school and support of its 10,000th girl through the Girls' Education Program.
Room to Read has all-volunteer fundraising chapters in:
Aspen Valley, CO
Denver / Boulder, CO
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Los Angeles, CA
Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN
New York, NY
Salt Lake City/Wasatch, UT
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Seattle, WA; St. Louis, MO
Hong Kong, China
Seoul, South Korea
United Arab Emirates
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Since its inception in 2000, Room to Read has impacted the lives of over 10 million children in the developing world by:
13.6M CHILDREN BENEFITED from Room to Read's programs since 2000.
30,337 Schools Benefit from Room to Read programs
8M BOOKS CHECKED OUT by children on average each year from our 19,800 school libraries.
MORE THAN 20.6M CHILDREN’S BOOKS DISTRIBUTED including more than 1,300 original Room to Read titles, donated English- and local language books.
MORE THAN 10,000 TEACHERS TRAINED on average each year in literacy and reading best practices.
MORE THAN 56,517 GIRLS SUPPORTED by Room to Read's Girls’ Education Program and 95% of girls who remained in our program advanced to the next grade.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94104-1824 | Tax-exempt since Dec. 1999
Classification (NTEE) Educational Services and Schools - Other (Educational Institutions and Related Activities)
Nonprofit Tax Code Designation: 501(c)(3) Defined as: Organizations for any of the following purposes: religious, educational, charitable, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition (as long as it doesn’t provide athletic facilities or equipment), or the prevention of cruelty to children or animals.
Donations to this organization are tax deductible.