The Coin Laundry Association (CLA) represents thousands of independent laundry owners, equipment distributors, and manufacturers who make up a $5 billion-per-year industry.
CLA’s LaundryCares Foundation (LCF) was in the early stages of collaboration with Too Small To Fail (TSTF), a Clinton Foundation initiative dedicated to advancement of early childhood development and literacy (almost 60 percent of children in the United States start kindergarten unprepared, lagging behind their peers in critical language and reading skills). Leadership recognized an opportunity to support and expand those efforts through member partnerships with the vision of cultivating a nationwide distribution channel for local outreach. Beyond a commitment to help advance early childhood literacy in underserved communities, participation could also raise the profile of members and elevate negative perceptions of laundromats as an industry. Yet, as a fledgling program they needed a strategy and plan to truly have impact long-term.
MYB guided leaders of CLA, LCF, and TSTF through a series of visioning and working sessions to develop the initial strategy and plan to launch this program. Recognizing the need for additional support from librarians, civic groups, laundromat owners, and funders to successfully launch and activate this initiative, we led to the creation and facilitation of the inaugural LaundryCares Literacy Summit. Bringing together 26 like-minded partners for this two-day event, we successfully built out a long-term vision and framed out initial plans to get there.
Today the LaundryCares Summit has over 1000 attendees and the coalition is growing. LCF and TSTF have developed and launched “Learn, Play, Read” programs and kiosks in over 100 laundromats across the country, conducted three studies through NYU validating the positive impact of pilot programs in New York and Chicago, and engaged with 1000s of children and their parents/caregivers in two languages. And just four years after its inception, CLA won ASAE’s coveted “Power of A” Award in 2020.