It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Antonia “Toni” Neubauer, the visionary founder of READ Global. Toni passed away on April 16 after traveling to her beloved Nepal one last time. After two years of struggling with cancer, she is finally at peace, having lived her life to the fullest until the very end. Through her creative fortitude she leaves behind a model for community-led development and a legacy of transformational impact on communities across South Asia.
Toni was a true believer in the power of human potential and community action. Her passion for education and community development led her to establish READ Global in 1991, with the aim of empowering rural communities in South Asia through education and social enterprise. Her journey began when a Nepalese trekking guide expressed his desire for a library in his village, and Toni saw an opportunity to give meaning to her life and give back to a part of the world that had given her so much.
READ Global grew from a small grassroots organization operated out of Toni’s adventure travel company, Myths and Mountains, to a highly respected and impactful non-profit. Her dedication to the cause inspired countless others to get involved and make a difference. Under Toni’s leadership, in 2006 READ Nepal was awarded the prestigious Access to Learning Award (ATLA) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, allowing READ Global to expand its work to Bhutan and India. In 2020, Toni was awarded the prestigious Dr. Dilli Raman Regmi International Peace Award by the government of Nepal for her contributions to the country. Today, there are 131 READ Centers across South Asia that empower communities to unlock their social and economic potential. READ’s approach of community-led development will continue to inspire Toni’s children Melissa and Lawrence, her seven grandchildren, READ Global’s Board of Directors, and all who knew her.
Beyond her work with READ Global, Toni was a beloved friend, mentor, and leader to many. She will be remembered for her fierce determination and unwavering commitment to making the world a better place. We invite you to join us in remembering and honoring Antonia “Toni” Neubauer, a true visionary and champion of education for all.
Toni’s legacy will continue to live on through the READ family and the countless lives that have been transformed by her vision and hard work. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to READ.