The Coin Laundry Association (CLA) earned a 2020 ASAE Power of A Summit Award for the LaundryCares Foundation and its work to engage children and whole families in meaningful reading activities during their weekly visit to the laundromat. The initiative provides families with important early learning activities to meet urgent community needs: strengthened communities, better outcomes for children in poverty, and fewer barriers to libraries and early literacy providers. ASAE honored the program in the category of the Power of Community Support and Engagement.

This winning program addresses the single most significant factor influencing a child’s early educational success – an introduction to books and being read to at home before beginning school (National Commission on Reading). The hours of “dwell time” at the laundromat is often devoid of activities for children who need language and brain development and lack access to community resources like public libraries. According to the association, it is estimated that children in poverty hear thirty million fewer words than their middle-class peers, and own only one book per 300 children, an indicator of future reading success.

CLA came together with Too Small To Fail, an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, to accelerate childhood literacy learning for families in laundromats. They began by offering Storytime’s in New York laundromats. CLA Board Members, Too Small To Fail staff, and individual laundromat owners partner with local libraries, school districts and other providers to present early literacy activities and books in laundromats. Educational researcher Dr. Susan Neuman of the Steinhardt School at NYU was enlisted to help build this movement and research its benefits. By 2018, CLA also partnered with Lakeshore Learning and Scholastic Publishing to develop a kit that includes comfortable furniture, bookcases for children’s books and monthly subscriptions for beautiful, new children’s books so children may take free books home from their laundromat visit.

ASAE’s Power of A (association) Awards, the industry’s highest honor, recognize the association community’s valuable contributions on the local, national and global levels.  The Power of A Awards reward the outstanding accomplishments of associations and industry professionals who work tirelessly to solve problems, and strengthen lives, the workforce, the economy, and the world.

CLA and the other winners will be honored virtually on September 30 from 6-7:30pm EDT. Tickets are complimentary and sponsorship opportunities are available. This year’s virtual experiences will offer attendees featured options such as a cooking demonstration, mixology class, live music by Keb’ Mo’, an American blues musician and five-time Grammy Award winner, comedy by Erin Jackson and Robert Mac and finally a live, in-program presentation by singer-songwriter Caitlyn Smith. (Check out Caitlyn’s special message here.) All musical entertainment has been provided by Nashville and Music City Center.

Thank you to all who entered, and congratulations to all the winners.

For more information, please contact Chris Vest at cvest@asaecenter.org.