Press & News |

STARTING TODAY: President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton to bring together leaders in education, business, and philanthropy to address the importance of everyday spaces on early childhood education at virtual LaundryCares Literacy Summit

Education & Health Equity | 11 Minute Read

For Immediate Release: September 21, 2021


STARTING TODAY: President Clinton and Chelsea Clinton to bring together leaders in education, business, and philanthropy to address the importance of everyday spaces on early childhood education at virtual LaundryCares Literacy Summit

The Summit will highlight how everyday spaces in communities—from local laundromats to pediatric clinics, parks, and grocery stores—can be reimagined and redesigned to support early learning and foster positive relationships between children and their caregivers.

For more information and online registration, please visit:

NEW YORK, NY – Beginning today, the LaundryCares Foundation and Too Small to Fail, the early childhood initiative of the Clinton Foundation, will host the fourth annual LaundryCares Literacy Summit. This year’s virtual Summit will take part in three sessions that will explore the potential and importance of neighborhood spaces as learning-rich environments that promote children’s early brain and language development and promote educational equity.


The sessions will be held Tuesday, September 21; Thursday, September 23; and Tuesday, September 28. The closing session will include announcements of new partnerships and commitments to support more equitable learning environments for all children.


In addition to remarks by President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton, featured speakers will include Gregg Behr, executive director, Grable Foundation; Barbara Bouza, president, business management, design & development, Walt Disney Imagineering; Miriam Calderon, deputy assistant secretary, Early Learning, U.S. Department of EducationSenator William H. Frist, M.D., former U.S. Senate Majority Leader; Jacqueline Jones, president & CEO, Foundation for Child Development; Cheryl Oldham, vice president, Education Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Ralph Smith, managing directorCampaign for Grade-Level Reading; Bo Stjerne Thomsen, Chair of Learning through Play, LEGO Foundation; and more.


All programming will be made available free of charge for participants in the three sessions on September 21, 23, and 28, 2021. To register and join this year’s Summit, please visit The full schedule can be found below.


Session One: Why We’re Here, Why Now, and Opportunities for Change

Tuesday, September 21 — 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. EDT 


The first session will focus on the importance of neighborhoods—what parents hope and dream for in their communities, the inequities that exist and why they matter, and how neighborhood spaces are being used by community and business leaders to support early childhood education.



  • President Bill Clinton
  • Miriam Calderon, deputy assistant secretary, Early Learning, U.S. Department of Education
  • Athenia Rodney, mother & United for Brownsville Family Advisory board member
  • Veronica Tapia, mother & early educator
  • Deborah Golden, mother/grandmother & Great Start Wayne Parent Coalition member
  • Dr. Renee Boynton-Jarrett, founding director, Vital Village Networks
  • Emma Dorn, senior knowledge expert, McKinsey and Company
  • Jacqueline Jones, president and CEO, Foundation for Child Development
  • Ralph Smith, managing director, Campaign for Grade-Level Reading
  • Danielle Augustine, project manager, United for Brownsville
  • Rachel Langford, associate director, Education Systems Alignment, Home Forward
  • Scott Roschi, creative director, Landscape Structures
  • Brian Wallace, president, Coin Laundry Association



Session Two: Reimagining Environments in Everyday Spaces 

Thursday, September 23 — 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET 


The second session will focus on the ingredients of family-friendly, learning-rich environments and deep dives into community-wide approaches to listening and co-designing with customers in Philadelphia and Chicago.

·       Senator William H. Frist, M.D., former Majority Leader, U.S. Senate

·       Barbara Bouza, President—Business Management, Design & Development, Walt Disney Imagineering

·       Gregg Behr, executive director, Grable Foundation Dave Broz, AIA Principal and Community Sector Leader, Gensler

·       Helen Shwe Hadani, fellow, The Brookings Institution

·       Tiffany Harris, co-founder & CEO, Inclusion Matters by Shane’s Inspiration

·       Dr. Gigliana Melzi, associate professor, Department of Psychology, New York University

·       Bo Stjerne Thomsen, Chair of Learning through Play, LEGO Foundation

·       Lysa Ratliff, CEO, KABOOM!

·       Jane Park, director, Too Small to Fail

·       Robert Zolna, clinical associate professor, Design Research; UIC UIC and Sacred Heart Academy Students

·       Jen DeMelo, director of Special Projects, KABOOM

·       Brian Holland, president & founding partner, The Laundry Café



Session Three: Building and Designing Together

Tuesday, September 28 — 1:00 p.m.-3:00 p.m. ET 


The closing session will focus on innovative approaches that businesses and associations are taking to support children and families. It also will feature several announcements by Chelsea Clinton about new commitments and partnerships that will aim to create more equitable learning environments for all children.



  • Chelsea Clinton, vice chair, Clinton Foundation
  • Brian Holland, president & founding partner, The Laundry Café
  • Sara Adams, senior director, communications and marketing, Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose
  • Cheryl Oldham, vice president of education policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Brian Wallace, CEO, Coin Laundry Association
  • Christi Zuber, founder and managing director, Aspen Labs Network
  • Mike Lin, principal consultant and advisor, Aspen Labs Network


After the inaugural LaundryCares Literacy Summit in 2018, the LaundryCares Foundation and Too Small to Fail launched “Family Read, Play & Learn” spaces to create literacy-rich early learning environments inside laundromats and evaluated the impact of these spaces on children’s early literacy development and parent-child interactions. “Family Read, Play & Learn Spaces” are playful, literacy-rich areas designed to help prompt language-rich activities such as talking, reading, singing, writing, and playing among young children and their parents/caregivers. These spaces include a sofa, bookshelf filled with high-quality children’s books, puppets, crayons, in-store signage for parents, an alphabet rug, blocks, magnetic letters, and family tip sheets. Placing “Family Read, Play & Learn” spaces in laundromats had an overwhelmingly positive effect on children’s literacy-related activity.  Researchers observed 1,378 instances of literacy-related activities in laundromats with these spaces compared to 7 instances in laundromats without these spaces.




About the LaundryCares Foundation

The LaundryCares Foundation is dedicated to helping laundromat owners provide services through their stores such as Free Laundry & Literacy Days and childhood literacy resources to families in underserved communities. Visit us at (link is external). For additional information, please contact Dan Naumann at (630) 953-7920 or at (link sends e-mail).


About Too Small to Fail

Too Small to Fail, the early childhood initiative of the Clinton Foundation, promotes early brain and language development by supporting parents and caregivers with tools to talk, read, and sing with their young children from birth. Today, almost 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 at (link is external).


About the Clinton Foundation

Building on a lifetime of public service, President Clinton established the Clinton Foundation on the simple belief that everyone deserves a chance to succeed, everyone has a responsibility to act, and we all do better when we work together. For nearly two decades, those values have energized the work of the Foundation in overcoming complex challenges and improving the lives of people across the United States and around the world.


As an operating foundation, we work on issues directly or with strategic partners from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors to create economic opportunity, improve public health, and inspire civic engagement and service. Our programs are designed to make a real difference today while serving as proven models for tomorrow. The goal of every effort is to use available resources to get better results faster – at the lowest possible cost.


We firmly believe that when diverse groups of people bring resources together in the spirit of true cooperation, transformative ideas will emerge to drive life-changing action.


Learn more at, on Facebook at, and on Twitter @ClintonFdn.