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Room to Read “social entrepreneurs” generate literacy, especially for girls, in ten African, Asia, countries

“By 2015, we will have benefitted 10 million children who will have a better destiny through education”, Erin Ganju, Room to Read  Co-Founder and CEO reports in thanking many partners, including an array of supportive business organizations.

In the just-issued 2013 annual report, Ms. Ganju explains literacy as being Room to Read’s primary mission: 

“Why literacy? Because literacy is the foundation for all future learning and the starting point for solving some of the world’s biggest problems — poverty, conflict, disease, intolerance, inequality and exploitation to name just a few.”

You may ask why Business In Society has chosen to spotlight Room To Read from among the many very worthy non-profit organizations doing humanitarian work among needy populations around the world. The rationale:

Most importantly, highlighting such social progress will hopefully generate additional support for Room To Read while encouraging formation of more programs to address the macro social problems in our interconnected global society.

Concurrently, Room to Read is “Smart about Partnerships”. It notes that, “Partnering with key institutional funders [corporations, foundations and governments] allows us to multiply our impact around the world.” The  long list of its business partners is impressive in itself — but implicitly also serves as a microcosm  of the plethora of business voluntary corporate social responsibility/sustainable development investments in a better world. Such support comes in cash or very valuable core-competency in-kind contributions. (See also our August 20th blog on IBM’s Corporate Service Corps.) 

Proud to report that Ketchum is a long-time supporter of Room To Read.

Yet another reason for bringing Room To Read to your attention: It is accountable; it’s achievements are measurable and transparent. Board Chair Craig, Bruya, formerly chief financial officer of Microsoft Business Solutions, describes the organization’s “business smarts” this way: ‘Building effective systems and monitoring our programs to make sure they have the desired results not only costs money but also is essential if we want to scale our impact.”

It would be futile to try to select only a few of the many Room to Read achievements to be “representative” of its impact in countries ranging from Tanzania and Zambia to Bangladesh and Vietnam. So examine the annual report . And consider how you might support Room to Read.

Finally, there is this: With today’s never-ending media reports of conflict and suffering around the world, don’t we all need an occasional healthy dose of good news — the kind of heart-warming, constructive and encouraging news delivered by Room To Read?