View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dubai Cares Gives Generously to Build Schools and Provide Books

The new philanthropic organization, Dubai Cares, is giving a major contribution to a California-based education nonprofit organization, Room to Read.

The gift of $3 million so far (and more is promised) to Room to Read will help build schools and libraries, publish books and provides scholarships in developing countries.

The Room to Read donation is also part of a project in which 100,000 Dubai students will try to read a million books over a two-week period this month. For each book read, Dubai Cares will buy a book for distribution in India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Zambia and South Africa.

The founder of the charity is John Wood, a former Microsoft manager who has told his story in his bestseller, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World.

This contribution is notable for many reasons:

1. It makes Dubai Cares the largest outside donor to Room to Read.

2. It signifies the extending reach of new well-funded Arab charities that have traditionally made gifts to charities in neighboring countries and/or Islamic nations.

3. Philanthropy has traditionally been handled quietly and informally in the Middle East. Now it is becoming much more organized and with more promotion.

Robert Guth, Dubai Charity Gives Millions to US Group, Wall Street Journal, 11 November 2008.

Dr Geoff Pound