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The LaundryCares Foundation - In Partnership with Too Small to Fail and Libraries Without Borders - Launches First-Ever Summit to Leverage the Role of the Laundromat to Promote Early Literacy Nationwide

CHICAGO, IL - Coinciding with Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss’ birthday, the Coin Laundry Association’s (CLA) LaundryCares Foundation has launched the inaugural LaundryCares Literacy Summit. The convening, held in partnership with Too Small to Fail and Libraries Without Borders, will bring together national literacy organizations to explore the unique role the laundromat can play in enhancing early literacy efforts in local communities across the country.

Since 2006, LaundryCares has been hosting its Free Laundry Day initiative, a nationwide effort to provide families with free laundry services at select laundromats in underserved communities across the country. Hundreds of loads of laundry are typically completed during each free laundry day. Over the last three years, in partnership with the Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail initiative, the Free Laundry Day initiative has expanded to include reading circles and family literacy activities, as well as to provide an opportunity for parents to get information and tools to support their young children’s early brain and language development. Further, CLA and Too Small to Fail have implemented “Wash Time is Talk Time,” a national partnership to distribute children’s books, parent-child conversation posters, and family tip sheets through 5,000 laundromats across the country.

In recent months, there has been an outpouring of interest from literacy organizations in collaborating with LaundryCares to support increased efforts. The first LaundryCares Literacy Summit this week aims to bring those like-missioned organizations together to identify how to collectively make a bigger impact to promote childhood literacy. Summit sponsors and in-kind supporters include Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher of childrnen’s books—as well as Lakeshore Learning Materials, a leading retailer and distributor of innovative educational products. 

“Due to our tremendous reach in underserved communities, LaundryCares is in a unique position to leverage existing early literacy efforts in neighborhoods across the country. We are excited to build on our collective strengths and look forward to working with like-minded organizations and companies to help children reach their highest potential,” said CLA CEO Brian Wallace. 

Summit participants and future partners will gain access to LaundryCares’ growing number of member stores nationwide. The extensive footprint of LaundryCares, coupled with the passion and generosity of CLA members, represents a nationwide distribution channel to connect children with literacy efforts. In addition to providing invaluable access to families most in need.  

“Families spend an average of 2.5 hours during each visit to the laundromat. We have worked to help turn laundry time into meaningful opportunities to engage families in literacy-activities. We envision the Literacy Summit playing a pivotal role in identifying how the laundromat can serve as a community hub for book distribution and other literacy efforts. These are our goals and we are thrilled to join forces to tackle them together,” said Jane Park Woo, Deputy Director of Too Small to Fail.

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ABOUT THE COIN LAUNDRY ASSOCIATION

Established in 1960, the Coin Laundry Association is a vertical association that serves laundry owners, prospective laundry owners, equipment distributors and manufacturers. Headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., it is a national not-for-profit trade organization with sixteen local affiliate groups located across the United States. Over the past 50 years, the organization has helped thousands of laundry operators get the most from their businesses. 

ABOUT THE LAUNDRYCARES FOUNDATION 

The LaundryCares Foundation was created by the Coin Laundry Association in 2006. With a mission to provide laundry services and education to those in need, the Foundation strives to give back to the community that supports member businesses. Over the last two years, the Free Laundry Day initiative has become a pinnacle of the Foundation. Occurring in underserved communities throughout the United States, the initiative has garnered the attention of organizations like The Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail and Libraries without Borders for its efforts in supporting childhood literacy. “Experience” Free Laundry Day by visiting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B-YIZhQ7z8.

ABOUT TOO SMALL TO FAIL 

Too Small to Fail, an early childhood initiative of the Clinton Foundation, promotes the importance of early brain and language development and supports parents with tools to talk, read, and sing with their young children from birth. Today, 60 percent of children in the United States start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language and reading skills. Through partnerships with pediatricians, hospitals, faith-based leaders, community-based organizations, businesses, entertainment industry leaders, and others, Too Small to Fail is meeting parents where they are to help them prepare their children for success in school and beyond. Whether at the pediatrician’s office or the playground, Too Small to Fail aims to make small moments big by creating opportunities for meaningful interactions anytime, anywhere.

Learn more about our work with Laundromats at http://talkingisteaching.org/communities/spaces/laundry.