Czech multimillionaire Martin Roman and his wife decided to donate most of their estimated $30 million fortune to charity during their lifetimes because “no child is happy because he/she inherits a lot of money.” When the 42-year old businessman learned that Czech students scored below average in reading skills and comprehension, he got the idea to start Čtení pomáhá (Reading Helps), a unique project that not only motivates children and young adults to read, but also involves them in charitable giving.
Since the project began in April, over 45,000 youth – ages 6 to 18 – have registered with the Reading Helps site, where they choose from over 200 books which have been divided into age-appropriate reading lists. Once a student has read a book, they log on to the site and answer questions about it. If they can answer correctly, they earn a 50 koruna ($2.80) credit.
Students can then donate these credits to various causes, which have included purchasing wheelchairs and training assistance dogs for disabled children, equipment for an assisted-living house for the elderly inCzechoslovakia, or funding eye surgery for an African teenage boy. Mr. Roman has pledged to donate 10 million koruna (over half a million dollars) every year for the life of the project.
To learn more about this fantastic endeavor, go here and here.
Many thanks to Andy (esteemed colleague and past Off the Shelf contributor) for passing on this inspiring story!
~ Olivia (Reader’s Services)