Dame Marie Bashir, AD, CVO
We believe all Australians have the right to literacy, because being able to read and write is the key to accessing education and employment, and to participating fully in society.
ALNF was founded in 1999 by Mary-Ruth Mendel and Kim Kelly, who are passionate about helping people in Australia’s most marginalised communities gain literacy skills.
Mary-Ruth Mendel is a leading Speech-Language Pathologist specialising in assisting people of all ages with literacy and learning difficulties through her private practice, The Speech Language & Literacy Centre. Kim Kelly is a mother of four with a background in business management.
Television coverage of Mendel’s success with clients experiencing reading, writing and comprehension impairment led to an avalanche of phone calls, more than 3000, from distraught parents and community members wanting to help children, staff, family who were struggling to read at even the most basic level.
In response, Mendel and Kelly began their journey to establish a charity that could properly and equitably assist people in need of literacy support, and the Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) was born. The ALNF raises funds to continue to develop, implement and sustain innovative literacy programs for individuals, families and communities.
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"The work and delivery of the programs and materials provided by the Wall of Hands Appeal and the ALNF, address the real needs of Indigenous Australians and communities that may be marginalised and excluded from mainstream educational support.
The life skills that these programs create are carried by the individual forever, providing hope, opportunity and strength with benefits flowing through to local communities and the Australian way of life as a whole."
Jon Luff, CEO Border Express, and Pro Bono Partner
"CAGES Foundation began supporting ALNF in the Macleay Valley region in 2011. ALNF had built an extremely valuable and trusted relationship with the community and through this relationship were able to build the capacity of people and organisations, visibly empowering local community. In the five years we have supported ALNF we have been delighted to see teachers embedding literacy across all activities, children going to school with the pre-literacy requirements they need and parents who understand and can articulate what they want for their children.”
Rachel Kerry, Chief Executive Officer, CAGES Foundation
"I struggled at school, which affected my childhood, and ultimately, my confidence. I feared my teacher asking me to read out loud in class, which is why I feel so strongly about the important work the ALNF do as the first independent charity dedicated to raising national language, literacy and numeracy standards."
Cosentino, The Grand Illusionist
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