• Molly Ness

The Amy Krouse Rosenthal Foundation

The world lost Amy Krouse Rosenthal way too soon. She was a remarkably inventive author – with more than 40 books, including bestselling children’s books, grownup memoirs, and keepsake journals. Amy made short films and YouTube videos, gave TED talks and provided radio commentary for NPR, among others. The New York Times published her essay "You May Want to Marry My Husband" in March 2017; by the date of her death, just ten days later, the essay had been read by nearly five million people. At the age of 51, she died from ovarian cancer.

To honor her memory, Amy’s widow - Jason B. Rosenthal - founded a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, based in Chicago, funding childhood literacy efforts and ovarian cancer early detection awareness and research. The Amy Krouse Rosenthal (AKR) Foundation seeks out, forms partnerships with, and provides funding to existing organizations with effective frameworks in place. Book donations are primarily divided between organizations serving children in Chicagoland - including Bernie's Book Bank and Open Books (among others) - and Save the Children’s Early Head Start and Rural Education programs across the country.

Our Foundation undertakes efforts to support child literacy and put books into the hands of kids who need them the most. In addition to our book donation program, we regularly host story-time and book giveaway programs. Our programming most often centers on the uniqueness and sense of joy, wonder and individuality so embedded in Amy’s work and legacy.
- Executive Director Betsy Katten

The Impact of AKR

  • 30,000 books donated in 2019, including more than 20,000 special-order copies of Amy’s award-winning book Exclamation Mark.

  • 2020 distribution of 30,000 copies of Amy and Tom Lichtenheld's book, Friendshape.

Amy’s children’s books, adult books, visual art, happenings, musical events, videos, radio segments, and performances, often focused on the magic in seemingly small, mundane things that cultivated a sense of community and universality. "She brought people together and made the ordinary into something extraordinary. With our events we hope children will walk away eager to read, make, and tell more stories, knowing that all it takes is a bit of energy, imagination, and inspiration", explains Executive Director Betsy Katten.


Sharing Amy’s work allows us to share the lessons of kindness, acceptance, and wonder that are prevalent in her work with children who likely would not otherwise get a chance to own one of her books. We believe sharing Amy’s work and messaging with the greatest number of children will be the measure of our success. Much of Amy’s work came from her uncanny ability to pick up on the small curiosities of the world, tiny gems that pepper life with awe if we can be present enough to see them. Whether noticing that the uniqueness and beauty of each individual or rearranging letters to find wordy magic, Amy proved that the world is more fun if we seek its wonder.
- Executive Director Betsy Katten

To learn more about Amy and the Amy Krouse Rosenthal Foundation...

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