Join Brian Wallace, President/CEO of the Coin Laundry Association and Executive Director of the LaundryCares Foundation, as he provides an update on how the LaundryCares Foundation has been advancing its mission in 2019 and its’ exciting plans for 2020.
Free Laundry & Literacy Days
We hosted five Plantinum-Level Free Laundry Days (now referred to as “Free Laundry & Literacy Days”) in 2019 in several places across the country. More than 500 LaundryCares volunteers and hosting laundromats helped over 600 families wash and dry more than 80,000 lbs of laundry. At these events, more than 5000 books collectively have been delivered to children.
More Free Laundry & Literacy Days are planned for 2020 including our first event in Los Angeles in March.
2nd Annual LaundryCares Literacy Summit
In March 2019, over a hundred laundry industry experts, literacy and early-childhood-development specialists, librarians, and educators met at the Union League Club in Chicago to brainstorm ideas on how to bring literacy and learning to kids by using the local laundry business and other everyday spaces as a conduit to distribute books and learning materials.
The highlight of the Summit was the ribbon cutting of the first Family Read, Play & Learn Space at WashTime on Fullerton in Chicago which was installed by Too Small to Fail. Chelsea Clinton officially opened the new learning place where she read to the children and addressed the audience about the importance of these spaces.
Family Read, Play & Learn Space Kits
The Clean Show 2019 introduced LaundryCares Family Read, Play & Learn Kits to the laundry industry in a big way in “The Big Easy”. Two New Orleans laundromats christened their new spaces with a double-header Free Laundry Day celebration. The show floor of the exhibit hall had kits installed to showcase the various size and configuration options.
LaundryCares in the News
We were included in many different news and media stories across the airwaves and in print. There was a PBS New Hour story in April. Then our work was featured on NPR, US News & World Report, and Sirius XM Radio. We’ve also been featured in the Chicago Tribune among other national and regional publications.
- Chicago Sun-Times: www.laundrycares.org/suntimes2019
- Chicago Tribune: www.laundrycares.org/tribune2019
- ABC 7: www.laundrycares.org/abc72019
- NBC 5: www.laundrycares.org/nbc52019
- Chalkbeat: www.laundrycares.org/chalkbeat2019
- US News & World Report: www.laundrycares.org/usnews19
- NPR – All Things Considered Laundromats Fold In Learning Spaces for Busy Families: www.laundrycares.org/npr19
- Newsy – Wash and Learn: Laundromats and Libraries Are Fighting ‘Book Deserts’: www.laundrycares.org/newsy19
- Newsday – Parents wash while Bill Clinton reads to their children in Deer Park: www.laundrycares.org/newsday2019
- Nola.com – The Clintons surprise visit to a literacy program at po-boy shop, laundry about to go big: www.laundrycares.org/nolacom2019
- PBS News Hour: www.laundrycares.org/pbs2019
- American Voices with Senator Bill Bradley: www.laundrycares.org/voices19
- PlanetLaundry: www.laundrycares.org/planetlaundry
Research Studies and Spreading the Word
Dr. Susan Neuman of NYU Steinhardt performed a study in 2018 in New York. The executive study of those results was shared at the LaundryCares Literacy Summit to the participants. A new expanded study of ten laundromats outfitted with a learning space and ten control laundromats rolled out in 2019 and is currently being enacted and observed through a grant from the Valhalla Foundation. The literacy spaces are being activated by librarians.
Brian Wallace has had many opportunities to speak at a variety of conferences throughout the year to share the good work that is being done by the foundation, the Laundry Literacy Coalition, partnering organizations, and, of course, the laundry owners who open their stores and their hearts to the public.
Funding for all of the initiatives and ongoing operations of the LaundryCares Foundation has come from individual contributions by the public and the laundry-owner community with several large and generous gifts from CLA members. In addition to the aforementioned Valhalla grant, LaundryCares received an innovation grant from the David & Lucile Packard Foundation.
We would like to thank our signature sponsors:
- Alliance Laundry Systems
- Maytag Commercial Laundry
- Girbau North America
- Eastern Funding
- Dexter Laundry
We would also like to thank our in-kind sponsors who provide products and services for our Free Laundry Day events:
What to Expect in 2020 and Beyond
A few of our planned outcomes this year include:
- Growing the reach of Family Read, Play & Learn Space kits in hundreds more stores across the nation
- 3rd Annual LaundryCares Literacy Summit in Chicago, March 24-25
- Introducing Brite by Text to foster engagement
- Adding more Free Laundry & Literacy Day events
- Expanding our efforts to help with disaster recovery efforts for areas hit by storms, fires, or other devastation.
You Can Help
You can help us to continue to provide help to underserved people in communities throughout the nation by spreading the word, sharing our content and our message, influencing more laundry owners to join the movement, and making a monetary donation.