Care Counts Program with Whirlpool

Whirlpool Hosted Chicago Ideas Week Lab Highlighting the Heartbreaking Reality Facing Students Nationwide – Lack of Access to Clean Clothes

Education has a laundry problem and Whirlpool is fighting back. Did you know that according to teachers nationwide 1 in 5 students don’t have access to clean clothes[1]? Dirty clothes lead to students missing school and students who miss school are seven times more likely to drop out[2]. The Care Counts™ laundry program, established in 2015, is committed to helping remove one small but important barrier to attendance – access to clean clothes – by installing washers and dryers in schools. Since the program’s inception, the program has seen decreases in absenteeism, increases in attendance rates, grades and levels of self-esteem.

To continue to generate awareness of the issue with a seemingly simple solution, Whirlpool joined Chicago Ideas Week, an annual festival in Chicago featuring hundreds of global thought leaders and innovators speaking on a variety of topics, to take the public behind the scenes of the program and invite them to learn more about the faces and startling stats behind the national program.

Hosted at the World of Whirlpool Chicago, the “How to Help Keep Kids in School with Whirlpool” Lab invited more than 30 attendees, including Dr. Richard Rende, development psychologist, researcher, and educator behind the program, and Erin Lauesen, Assistant Principal at Piccolo School of Excellence in Chicago, to immerse themselves in the world of Care Counts™ through visual installations and conversations with the Whirlpool brand. The experience was designed to empower local schools to apply for the program, and participants created immediate impact by assembling an official “Care Kit” of laundry supplies that will be donated to new participating schools.

Extending beyond the walls of the Lab, Whirlpool collaborated with six leading parenting-centric social media influencers in the Chicago area, Kim Spaetti, Leyla Tran, Michelle Thames, Rochelle Mangold, Caitlin Wilker, and Meredith Schok Zimmermanwho captured content and spread the word, generating thousands of viewers and traffic to the Care Counts™ site.

Using the Lab as the backdrop, CBS Chicago’s coverage of the program has been picked up by national outlets like Yahoo! News and MSN, continuing to drive awareness nationwide.

Whirlpool is looking forward to continuing momentum for the Care Counts™ laundry program and introducing the program to schools and students across the country – so laundry doesn’t have to stand in the way of education. Join in the conversation #CareCounts!


[1] Based on a survey conducted by phone within the United States by Braun Research from among 600 public school teachers (18 years or older)