Corporate Charity Begins At Home?
19 August 2003 at 1:08 pm
Former Microsoft marketing director John Wood has stepped into the Not for Profit world with his own charity Room to Read and has been surprised to find that Australian corporate philanthropy in his home country has eluded him.
Wood, is the founder of Room to Read, a charity dedicated to improving education in rural Asia. It was established in 1999 after Wood trekked through Nepal, where he visited a village library and found it had less than 20 books.
Now Room to Read has helped build more than 50 schools and 500 libraries and established 20 computer labs in villages in Nepal, Vietnam and Cambodia and India.
Wood was with Microsoft Australia for more than three years until the late 1990s and says he was hoping that his connections in the Australian IT industry would help him promote the charity in Australia.
But he’s been disappointed that Room to Read has had no response from local companies.
Wood says the organisation raises more than $1.7 million a year and has established chapters across the US, Britain and Singapore.
Most donations in the US come from venture capital and IT companies.
Wood says company executives there often give donations to cover an entire project.
In the next twelve months Room to Read is planning to build another 50 schools and 100 libraries.
Wood wants to open a local Room to Read chapter saying Asia is a business focus for Australian companies, and it is important and enjoyable to make contributions to their societies.
If you would like to find out more about Room to Read check out the website at www.roomtoread.org.