Readers build
a better world.

Our mission

Worldreader works globally with partners to support vulnerable and underserved communities with digital reading solutions that help improve learning outcomes, workforce readiness, and gender equity.

We believe reading is transformative

How does reading change our lives? It develops our minds and helps us make sense of ourselves and the world around us. People who read improve their earning potential, achieve better educational success, and lead healthier, happier lives.

Our values

Our values guide us as we work to help readers build a better world.


We are courageous, experimental, and determined in our quest to support readers so they can build a better world.


We hire and invest in smart and tenacious people who are committed to our mission and a fun, inclusive work environment.


We look to the communities we serve to continuously improve our programs and strengthen our partnerships.


We build strong teams internally and create long-term, sustainable partnerships that amplify our impact.

Meet our co-founders

David Risher, CEO and Co-founder

After a career as a general manager at Microsoft and an early-stage executive at Amazon, David recognized early on how e-readers and digital books could give kids in under-served parts of the world better access to the life-changing experience of reading. Since co-founding Worldreader in 2010, David and the Worldreader team have expanded the organization to have impact in more than 47 countries, delivering high-quality books in 52 languages to over 16 million readers. Together, they’ve demonstrated how digital technology–combined with high-quality books, smart programming, strong partnerships–can accelerate reading around the globe and unlock the potential of the world’s next scientists, teachers, innovators, and explorers. David has degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Business School, is a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year Awardee, a Draper Richards Kaplan social entrepreneur, an invited member of the Clinton Global Initiative, and a Microsoft Alumni Foundation Integral Fellow . He has two daughters and lives in San Francisco, California, with his wife– author Jennifer Risher. Read David’s full bio here.

Colin McElwee, Co-founder and Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships

As co-founder of Worldreader, Colin focuses on developing and growing key partnerships, putting to good use his for-profit and nonprofit experience across the globe. Most recently, Colin was the first director of marketing at ESADE Business School in Barcelona, where he helped establish the school’s reputation as a world-class business education provider. Prior to that, he started his career as an economist for several Brussels-based lobbies to the European Commission, and later worked in global marketing in the consumer goods sector for Scottish & Newcastle PLC.

He has two young daughters and like them is an avid reader of books (now there’s a surprise!). Colin has a degree in economics from the University of Manchester and an MBA from ESADE Business School. He has previously acted as an invited member of the Global Agenda Council on Africa of the World Economic Forum (WEF) and in 2016 Colin was recognized as one of the Social Entrepreneurs of the Year by the Schwab Foundation of the WEF.

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