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John Wood is the Founder of Room to Read, an organization that believes World Change Starts with Educated Children.® Through its work, Room to Read has brought the lifelong gift of education to 16.6 million children in 16 countries. At age 35, John left his position as Director of Business Development for Microsoft’s Greater China region to found Room to Read. Seventeen years later, with over 30,000 schools and communities served, millions have been impacted by John’s decision to help a headmaster in Nepal fill his school’s library.
John’s award-winning memoir, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World recounts how he used the business acumen gained during his career in technology to develop one of the fastest-growing nonprofits in history. Publisher’s Weekly review described the book as “an infectiously inspiring read,” Amazon selected it as a Top Ten Business Narratives of 2006, and Hudson Booksellers voted it a Top Ten Nonfiction title. Translated into 20 languages, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World was featured in hundreds of outlets including Bloomberg, CNBC, Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

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John Wood_reading with students in Nepal
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John Wood_reading to children in Vietnam
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Room to Read Background

Founded in 2000 on the belief that World Change Starts with Educated Children®, Room to Read’s innovative model focuses on deep, systemic transformation within schools in low-income communities during two time periods that are most critical in a child’s schooling: early primary school for literacy acquisition and secondary school for girls’ education. Room to Read works in collaboration with local communities, partner organizations, and governments to develop literacy skills and a habit of reading among primary school children and ensure girls can complete secondary school with the skills necessary to negotiate key life decisions. Room to Read has benefited 16.8 million children across more than 37,000 communities in 16 countries. Learn more at

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