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Our Team

In June of 2009, Dr. Mal Keenan traveled to Lusaka, Zambia. She spent time with children, visited schools, and promoted literacy. Mal was inspired by the courage and exuberance of Zambia's children in the face of severe poverty and the ravages of AIDS.

Before Mal departed for Zambia, she had shipped four large boxes of books and school supplies to Lusaka to distribute to school children when she arrived. During her time in Zambia, Mal realized that books were desperately needed as children did not own or have access to books. Upon returning to Illinois, Mal worked with friends Michelle Rentzsch and Stephanie Brown to form A to Z Literacy Movement, a nonprofit organization whose team is passionate about providing books to children globally and promoting the love of reading. Today, the organization is directed and guided by passionate educators and people committed to children in need. The team is comprised of volunteers with a heart for spreading the love of literacy locally and abroad.

Mal Keenan

As founder, I am grateful to our team of volunteers who give of their time and resources. Each member of our team believes in our mission and the joy reading can bring to children's lives. My hope for A to Z is to continue to promote the love of reading while supporting dedicated teachers in their work. 

Dave Keenan

I've been involved with A to Z since it began in 2009. At that time, my primary role was "Chief Support Officer." I supported our chief in any way possible. Over the years, as our boys grew older and more independent, my role changed. But, the reason has always been the same - to make a difference in the lives of others. I've been fortunate to travel to Zambia, meet amazing people, and grow as a person, partner, dad, and friend due to Mal's vision and commitment to A to Z. The organization continues to adapt and change in ways that surprise and inspire me. Our potential to help others is enormous, I am excited to see what the future holds!

Pat Kelly

I've been enthralled with the African continent since studying it as a high school freshman. Mal and I used to work together when she founded A to Z and I became a supporter then since it was an extension of our work in children's education. After I expressed interest in the organization, Mal invited me to join. My hope for our charity is to continue to light the spark in kids' minds that reading brings.


Betty Trummel

My involvement in A to Z Literacy Movement began in 2009, as our organization was just beginning.  I could see so much potential to help others locally and globally and was excited about our connection with schools in Zambia.  After 4 trips to Zambia on behalf of A to Z, I have witnessed the enormous impact and learning experiences for both myself, and the wonderful Zambian teachers and children we have worked with.  The learning definitely goes both ways!  My hope for our small but mighty non-profit is to keep doing the local outreach that is so meaningful for our communities, and to continue shipping books and delivering professional development opportunities to vulnerable children and teachers in Zambia. 


Anastasia Gruper

A to Z was founded because of a passion to improve the lives of others through access to literacy.  Mal Keenan has defined why we need to do this work and has shaped a vision and mission I want to be part of growing.  Together, our team has learned so much.  My hope for this organization is that we continue to grow and thrive to meet the needs of others both locally and globally. 

Wendy Lasswell

I am involved with A to Z because I love books and believe in the importance of literacy in all children's lives. Reading really does open doors. My hope for A to Z is to continue getting books into the hands of children; both locally and in Zambia.

Wendy Pinkley

I became involved with A to Z to help share the gift of literacy with children everywhere. My hope for A to Z is that we are able to continue to have successful fundraising, so we are able to reach more children all over the world.


Alia Bluemlein

I came to be involved with A to Z Literacy through teaching with Mal; I started by participating in an annual dodgeball tournament. My hopes for the future of our nonprofit include continuing to instill a love of literacy for students and supporting communities locally and abroad equitably. 


Mary Harvey

I got involved with A to Z because I believe strongly in getting books into the hands of kids.  I love to read and want every child to have the opportunity to learn, grow and expand their mind through reading. We have such an awesome outreach program and I am proud to be part of this team. I hope that A to Z can continue to prosper and grow so that we can continue to get books to children and adults.  It makes my heart happy to know we are getting books to children in our communities as well as those throughout the US and other countries.  I truly believe that we will make a difference in many lives.  It is truly an honor to support  Jonathan and his family and continue to watch him grow.  

Taylor Crandall

My involvement with A to Z started as an internship in January 2019 because I loved the mission and really wanted to learn more about the local non-profit. I have learned so much and enjoyed spending time with the other board members. My hope for A to Z is to continue to grow and provide more children with books.  

Kate Hatfield​

I wanted to become involved with an organization that promotes children and reading. My hope for the charity is to continue to reach more children and share the love of reading.

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