From the earliest days of Room to Read, we have enjoyed a tradition of ringing a yak bell from Nepal in honor of each significant victory. Be it an investor funding a new school, a program milestone like our 10,000th library, or having made a key hire, the yak bell provides an opportunity for the Room to Read team to pause during very long days, take a deep breath, and celebrate with our colleagues.
This week, there is a new bell to ring–the daily closing bell of the NASDAQ stock exchange.
One of the key reasons for Room to Read’s meteoric growth during our first decade has been the support of the business and financial communities. Companies like Atlassian, Barclays Capital, Bloomberg, Caterpillar, Credit Suisse, the Financial Times, Goldman Sachs and Jones Day have embraced our model of using education to empower people across the developing world to help themselves. Executives from such companies have joined our global Boards, hosted fundraising events, and been active members of our chapter network in 56 cities around the world.
So it is with great pride that today Room to Read has been invited to ring the closing bell on the NASDAQ stock exchange. I am delivering the lunch keynote today in New York at an annual shipping industry conference called Marine Money on the topic of “Why Capitalists Should Care about Education in the Developing World.” Each year, the Marine Money team is invited to ring the bell as the day’s frantic trading comes to a close. I was completely surprised last week when the event organizers emailed to say, “We’d rather see Room to Read in the spotlight, and have the world learn more about your team’s great work.”
And what a spotlight it will be. My short remarks, along with the bell ringing, will be streamed live online here. It will also be broadcast in New York’s bustling Times Square, via a 100-foot tall electronic billboard. Hopefully it will inspire the business community to continue to think big about the power of education to change lives.
The first time I delivered a yak-load of books to schools on Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit over ten years ago, I could never have imagined our little start-up receiving such an honor. From yak bells to the closing bell–we couldn’t have made it this far without you, our incredible community of passionate supporters. Go team!
Learn more about our corporate partners on our website.