GOOD Q&A: John Wood GOOD Q&A: John Wood

GOOD Q&A: John Wood

by Patrick James

June 27, 2008

In 1998, John Wood was a dedicated Microsoft executive who needed a vacation. That year, while trekking through Nepal, he encountered a village so bankrupt of reading material that he vowed to come back the following year with as many books as he could carry. Soon thereafter, he founded the Room to Read, an organization that builds libraries in the developing world. GOOD recently phoned Wood to hear his personal thoughts on global literacy, why he left Microsoft to found Room to Read, and which big-red-dog book most moved him as a child.

For our readers who are unfamiliar with Room to Read, can you explain what it is?
We do three things: We build schools. We establish multilingual libraries and fill them with thousands of books. And we provide long term scholarships for girls because girls are often left out of the education system. Basically, we're a group that is committed to reaching 10 million kids across the world with the life-long gift of education. In education lies the key to self sufficiency-and the best long term ticket out of poverty.

What does a $20 Donation do for Room to Read?
This is a perfect price point. Twenty dollars is sufficient to sponsor a girl's scholarship for one month. We can also print 20 local-language children books in languages that have never really had children's books before. It's one of the reasons there's such an illiteracy problem in the developing world-there's just no children's book industry.

Read the complete interview here.
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GOOD Q&A: John Wood