Hey all. First of all, I wanted to wish everyone a late Merry Christmas and an early Happy New Year! I hope you are all enjoying your time with family and friends and re-charging for 2007.
I haven't posted here before so let me make a quick intro. My name is Jon Bischke and I'm the CEO and Founder of LearnOutLoud.com, an online portal for audio and video educational material. If you're looking to learn and want to use audio or video to do we have over 10,000 resources for you to utilize. In addition, we're planning to launch a new site next year with the mega-big ambition of revolutionizing education. More on that later... :)
For now I wanted to take just a minute to share a couple of really amazing organizations with you. I've been incredibly impressed by the positive impact they are having in the world and if you have a few free minutes this week I'd encourage you to check them out.
Room to Read – During my time back in Minneapolis I read the remarkable book Leaving Microsoft to Change the World. It's the story of John Wood, a former high-powered Microsoft executive who gave up an enviable lifestyle to dedicate his life to making universal education available to children in developing nations. Since 2000, John's non-profit Room to Read has established over 3,000 libraries and touched the lives of over one million children. I'd definitely recommend the book and am a big believer in what his organization is doing.
Kiva – Kiva was one of my favorite discoveries this year. It's a non-profit organization that allows individuals to make micro-loans to entrepreneurs in third world countries. The great part about Kiva is that they are empowering people to create economic futures for themselves rather than just making people depending on government aid or charity. You can make loans in amounts as little as $25 and choose who you'd like to loan the money to (e.g., I loaned money to a man in Uganda named Richard who is starting a movie theatre). To learn more about Kiva, watch this Frontline video or listen to this Venture Voice podcast.
If you're looking for a way to help make the world a better place in 2007 I can't think of two more worthy organizations to give your resources to.
Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't give a big shout-out to my buddies Kareem and Sundeep who introduced me to these organizations (Sundeep donates a significant chunk of his valuable time to Kiva as their Marketing Director!)
Best wishes to all of you in the New Year and may it be your best year ever.