The late Mary Lou DeVivo was a strong advocate for Windham Public Schools and started Windham Reads at Willimantic Public Library. The program aims to open doors for more local kids and families to experience the joy and power of reading. She believed literacy was a path toward greater life opportunities and self-sufficiency, particularly for people working to overcome poverty.

In memory of Mary Lou’s advocacy and passion, her children established the Mary Lou DeVivo Fund for Windham Literacy in 2021 to reflect the passion she had for both literacy and her community. Annual grants from the fund will support the Willimantic Public Library’s Windham Reads initiatives for children and their families.

The mother of five and grandmother of fourteen, Mary Lou was a former preschool and kindergarten teacher and later served as the director of religious studies at St. Joseph’s Parish in Windham.

When she passed away in 2015, she was president and owner of Willimantic Waste Paper Company.

One of Mary Lou’s daughters, Gina DeVivo Brassaw said, “To continue my mother’s commitment to our community through this fund is so meaningful to our family. With the Community Foundation and the Willimantic Public Library as our partners, we know we can continue to make the kind of difference she made during her lifetime.