World’s Largest Laundromat to Host National Literacy Summit

Berwyn’s World’s Largest Laundromat, which is true to its name, will continue to lead on the topic of literacy by hosting a national summit March 1.

Coinciding with Read Across America Day, the Coin Laundry Association’s (CLA) LaundryCares Foundation has launched the inaugural LaundryCares Literacy Summit. The event is a grassroots exploration of creating a consortium of foundations to serve the greater good of childhood literacy. Though an unexpected pair, LaundryCares affords literacy-oriented organizations a surprising yet completely logical opportunity to maximize their impact.

The World’s Largest Laundromat is a natural setting for this event. The Berwyn laundromat has been recognized by the CLA as the premiere philanthropic laundromat in the nation. The laundromat’s Read To Ride reading program has hundreds of participants each summer, and has recently expanded into Write to Ride, as well. There are also two free libraries in the 13,500-square-foot store.

“It’s our chance to show leaders in literacy—real change makers—the things we do here, with the hope that more laundromats will follow our lead,” says Tom Benson, owner of World’s Largest Laundromat.

In the past two years, LaundryCares has seen tremendous success in delivering its Free Laundry Day initiative. The nationwide event provides free laundry services and lends a hand to the underserved communities that so often fuel the success of CLA member businesses. In expanding the services provided as part of this unique event, childhood literacy quickly stood out as an area of both great need and great opportunity. LaundryCares’ efforts in this realm quickly caught the attention of organizations like the Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail and Libraries Without Borders, which have been instrumental in the development of the Summit.

The subsequent outpouring of organizations interested in collaborating with LaundryCares to support childhood literacy propelled them to take action. The first LaundryCares Literacy Summit aims to bring those like-missioned organizations together to identify how to collectively make a bigger impact. CLA CEO Brian Wallace said, “We envision the Literacy Summit playing a pivotal role in improving outcomes for the people we collectively serve and are trying to reach. That is our primary goal and we are thrilled to join forces to tackle it together.”

The consortium members are benefitted in two major ways. First, the consortium will gain access to LaundryCares’ network of 30,000+ member stores nationwide. The extensive footprint of LaundryCares, coupled with the passion and generosity of CLA members, represents a nationwide distribution channel to connect children with reading. On top of providing invaluable access to target audiences, the consortium will also benefit from LaundryCares aggregating data on collective outcomes. This data is key to driving potential corporate sponsors and grant makers. With it, the consortium will be able to expand its reach and introduce a potential new funding model to support individual, as well as collaborative efforts, of the consortium and its participants.

Brian Wallace further shares “We are excited for the unique position of LaundryCares to drive real progress in an area that bears significant ramifications for the future of children in underserved communities. We have just scratched the surface of leveraging our collective strengths and look forward to the potential and opportunities before us.”

The event starts at 5pm March 1 at the laundromat. There will be reading, entertainment, pizza, and a book giveaway, courtesy of Scholastic. Representatives from the Barbara Bush Foundation, the Clinton Foundation and more will be in attendance. Local libraries will also be on hand to help families register for library cards. The entire event is free.

The World’s Largest Laundromat in Berwyn, Ill., is the flagship store of the industry, setting precedents in service quality, technology and innovation. While our 300 machines, including massive 90-pound washers, make it possible to handle the entire family’s clothes at once, the 13,500 square feet of space allows us to take care of you and your family.

Media contact: Mark Benson, manager (708) 749-1545
More information is available at

Established in 1960, the Coin Laundry Association is a vertical association that serves laundry owners, prospective laundry owners, equipment distributors and manufacturers. Headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., it is a national not-for-profit trade organization with sixteen local affiliate groups located across the United States. Over the past 50 years, the organization has helped thousands of laundry operators get the most from their businesses.

The LaundryCares Foundation was created by the Coin Laundry Association in 2006. With a mission to provide laundry services and education to those in need, the Foundation strives to give back to the community that supports member businesses. Over the last two years, the Free Laundry Day initiative has become a pinnacle of the Foundation. Occurring in underserved communities throughout the United States, the initiative has garnered the attention of organizations like The Clinton Foundation’s Too Small to Fail and Libraries without Borders for its efforts in supporting childhood literacy. “Experience” Free Laundry Day by visiting

Recent Posts