March 19, 2021
By Lee Howard

The children of a late businesswoman with ties to the region have established a fund in her name to benefit literacy programs at the Willimantic Public Library.

The Mary Lou DeVivo Fund for Windham Literacy, a permanent endowment held at the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, will fund the library's Windham Reads programs aimed at children and families.

DeVivo, a summer resident of Old Lyme, former preschool and kindergarten teacher and president of the Willimantic Waste Paper Company, died in 2015.

"Mary Lou was most known for her vast involvement in community-based organizations," according to a release. "She started the Windham Reads program and was a strong advocate for enhancing Windham Schools. Believing that Windham's pathway out of poverty is education, the fund reflects Mary Lou’s legacy of hope for her entire community."

According to Daniel Paquette, library director, "The Mary Lou DeVivo Fund for Windham Literacy will enhance the library's role as a community hub that partners with schools and other organizations to inspire a love of reading and help our young people thrive."

Alison Woods, vice president of the community foundation, said in a release that annual distributions from the fund will carry on DeVivo's "legacy of compassion and her vision that all children should have the skills and opportunity to succeed.”