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New Alliance to Promote Early Literacy Through Laundromats Nationwide

LaundryCares Foundation, Too Small to Fail, Libraries without Borders launch Laundry & Literacy Coalition

OAKBROOK TERRACE, Ill. — Three national non-profit groups—the LaundryCares Foundation, the Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail initiative, and Libraries Without Borders—have launched a new Laundry & Literacy Coalition.

This new alliance was formed as a collaborative effort to make early literacy resources available to underserved communities through local Laundromats in communities nationwide.

Since 2015, the groups have been focused on the role of Laundromats in promoting children’s early literacy development. Initiatives have included:

  • Free Laundry & Literacy Day events at local Laundromats throughout the United States hosted by the LaundryCares Foundation and Too Small to Fail;
  • “Wash Time Is Talk Time,” an assortment of early literacy tools and resources distributed to over 5,000 laundromats through a partnership between the LaundryCares Foundation and Too Small to Fail; and
  • “Wash and Learn,” an initiative to extend library services to Laundromats through a collaboration between LaundryCares Foundation and Libraries Without Borders. 

The organizations say they are forming the Laundry & Literacy Coalition to provide greater opportunities to deliver high-quality early literacy resources and outreach programs directly into local self-service Laundromats in underserved communities. The Coalition is building an extensive network of local and national nonprofit organizations, academics, foundations, corporations, and Laundromat business owners to help scale effective strategies and advance new research around early literacy promotion in Laundromats.

“It’s an understatement to say that we’re excited about establishing the Laundry & Literacy Coalition,” says Brian Wallace, the executive director of the LaundryCares Foundation. “This is only the beginning of the creation of more sharing and collaboration with authorities in early childhood development and children’s literacy. We intend to continue to add members strategically to this Coalition to serve more people nationwide.”

“Our work has shown that Laundromats are important spaces with great potential to meet parents and families where they are to promote children’s early literacy development,” says Jane Park Woo, deputy director of Too Small to Fail. “We look forward to growing our partnership with the LaundryCares Foundation, Libraries Without Borders, and other organizations to launch new and innovative tools and strategies to promote children’s early literacy development through Laundromats nationwide.”

“Life gets busy!” says Allister Chang, executive director of Libraries Without Borders. “From last-minute scheduling changes to transportation challenges, there are many reasons why parents don’t read, talk, sing, or play with their children as much as they’d like, or why families don’t complete literacy programs despite their best intentions. That’s why the work of the Laundry & Literacy Coalition is so transformative—it creates new avenues that community organizations can use to reach families where they are, with information they want to learn.”