Social Entrepreneurship in the 21st Century
Founder & CEO
Room to Read
October 30, 2006Watch John Wood
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At age 35, John Wood left his job as Director of Business Development for Microsoft's Greater China region to form Room to Read, a nonprofit organization that promotes literacy in impoverished parts of the world.
John founded Room to Read because he was concerned that nearly 1 billion people lack basic literacy. "I was blessed with a solid education. As a result I had a great career and made some money. I started Room to Read as a way to give that same opportunity to children in some of the world's poorest villages".
Room to Read, founded in 2000, has sponsored the opening of a network of over 2,500 libraries and 210 schools across Asia. Over 1.2 million books have been put into the hands of children. John describes the results-to-date as being "total tip of the iceberg", as Room to Read plans to increase the network to 20,000 libraries and schools serving at least 10 million children. In 2006, the organization will expand into Africa and will launch three countries (Ethiopia, South Africa and Zambia) during the years 2006-8.
John, a native of Connecticut, holds a B.S. from the University of Colorado, awarded magna cum laude, and a Masters in Business Administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
He spent most of his career running significant parts of Microsoft's international business, including:
- The worldwide launch of the >$1 billion Office 95 campaign
- Director of Marketing for the Asia-Pacific Division
- Director of Marketing for Microsoft Australia
- Director of Microsoft Australia's Internet Customer Unit
- Director of Business Development for the Greater China region.
John has raised over $15 million from a "standing start" to fund education projects in nine countries around the world. He is the author of "Leaving Microsoft to Change the World", a book described by Publishers' Weekly as "an infectiously inspiring read". It will be published by Harper Collins in August, 2006.
John also serves on the Board of Directors of the Lynn Foundation and Net Impact.