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I think so and here is why.

Less than 1 percent of charities have received a 4-star rating for 12 years from Charity Navigator. Room to Read is one of these top 1 percent charities.

Now this is no guarantee, but it is a pretty good start. Actually way more than a good start. Room to Read has achieved these 4-star ratings for over 12 years, since 2007.

Charity Navigator is a good place to find out and compare the track record of charities that may interest you. Charity Navigator is America’s largest, independent, and most utilized evaluator of charities from around the world. Here is their evaluation of Room to Read.

Room to Read earned its 4-star rating because of its excellent record of sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability. And it earned this rating year after year.

In fact, 87.88% of total expenses were devoted to program costs. Very little of the money donated was used for anything other than their mission to educate children in low income countries around the world.

Room to Read is proud of their cheapness and their desire to commit as much money as possible to help the children. Co-founder, John Wood has become popular for his outspoken views on this topic. He likes to say that Room to Read will not pay his staff to drive Range Rovers (or other expensive vehicles). This is part of Room to Read’s war on overhead.

Here is John Wood talking to Susan Wojcicki at Google about this.

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Like for many charities, this past year of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a very challenging time for Room to Read. Schools remain closed in India, Bangladesh and Nepal, with partial school closures still impacting other countries in Asia including Sri Lanka.  

UNESCO reported at least half of all students not in school during the pandemic had no access to household computers or internet. According to Room to Read, this figure will be significantly lower in Asia’s low-income communities, where families lack financial resources. It is these communities where schools remain closed. 

“It would be a devastating blow if in some of the places hardest hit by the pandemic, we then saw a rise in youth illiteracy rates, which would cripple low-income communities for generations to come”. – Dr. Geetha Murali, Room to Read CEO

To rise to this immense challenge, Room to Read has delivered physical literacy resources during school closures to over 500,000 children in Asia. These are physical learning materials adapted to teach young children emotional, health and wellbeing skills to help get them get through and continue learning throughout this pandemic.

To me, this is quite impressive – a real GSD attitude. This is one of my favourite aspects of Room to Read. They get things done. Here, you can read more about my interest in their GSD approach.

These are some of the reasons why I think Room to read is a good charity. I encourage you do do your own research. Dig in and enjoy!

Until next time.


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“Education is the only thing that cannot be taken away. It is the key to fulfilling my dreams.”
Girls’ Education Program Participant

Room to Read Nepal