Raising A Reader Ma And UniFirst Announce Partnership To Support Early Literacy

Provides Enhanced Benefits to UniFirst Employees and Addresses Next-Generation Low Reading Proficiency in Massachusetts

BOSTON () – Raising A Reader Massachusetts (MA) and UniFirst Corporation have announced a new partnership to bring the early literacy organization’s signature Red Bag Book program to UniFirst employees, providing them with access to children’s books at no charge and the opportunity for parents to learn reading techniques, regardless of their reading comfort level.

Raising A Reader MA and UniFirst share a similar commitment to supporting the community. The Raising A Reader MA Red Bag Book program supplies participants with bags filled with high-quality, culturally appropriate children’s books. By providing tools that focus on education and early literacy, the goal is to eliminate the opportunity gap that impacts success in school and beyond.

“The launch of our first corporate program validates our work to address the issue of low reading proficiency,” said Christine Ward, interim executive director of Raising A Reader MA. “UniFirst is a philanthropic leader, focused on family and building a strong and inclusive corporate culture. This is just the beginning and we expect other corporations to follow, allowing otherwise isolated groups to be able to access our critical early literacy resources.”

As part of this partnership, Raising A Reader MA will honor Cynthia Croatti, executive vice president of UniFirst, at their annual Leadership in Literacy Award Breakfast. The award recognizes business leaders who inspire through their leadership and utilize their influence to change lives through literacy and learning. Croatti will be honored for her support of early literacy and focus on innovative nonprofit/corporate partnerships.

“We are fortunate to have wonderfully diverse employees at the foundation of our business,” said Croatti. “By offering an enhanced employee benefit that assists with developing early literacy skills, we’re helping to improve their lives and the community, as well as preparing the next generation of readers and leaders.”

“We’re honored to have Cynthia recognized with the Leadership in Literacy Award. Raising A Reader MA has created strong programs that allow families and caregivers to understand the important role they play in early child development,” said Adam Soreff, director of marketing and communications at UniFirst. “Cynthia has been a strong supporter of early literacy and corporate partnerships with nonprofits. This award acknowledges her accomplishments and continued focus on providing employee benefits that strengthen the current and future workforce,” he added.

Raising A Reader MA will also recognize House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo with the Legislator of the Year Award for his tireless work in supporting early education and care. The public support continues to strengthen this corporate/nonprofit partnership to eliminate the opportunity gap. The Leadership in Literacy Award Breakfast will take place October 27, 2017, at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston, from 7:30–9:00 a.m. For additional information on the event sponsorship opportunities, and how to purchase tickets or place an ad, please visit raisingareaderma.org.

About Raising A Reader MA

Raising A Reader MA is an evidence-based early literacy program that helps families of young children (birth through age six) develop, practice, and maintain habits of reading together at home. Raising A Reader MA’s core program increases access to books and offers support for strengthening the culture of reading at home. The model is driven by more than 25 years of research that shows the most significant factor impacting a child’s academic success is being regularly read to by a parent or other primary adult caregiver before starting kindergarten.

About UniFirst

Headquartered in Wilmington, Mass., UniFirst Corporation (NYSE: UNF) is a North American leader in the supply and servicing of uniform and workwear programs, as well as the delivery of facility service programs. Together with its subsidiaries, the company also provides first aid and safety products, and manages specialized garment programs for the cleanroom and nuclear industries. UniFirst manufactures its own branded workwear, protective clothing, and floorcare products, and with 250 service locations, over 300,000 customer locations, and 14,000 employee Team Partners, the company outfits nearly 2 million workers each business day. For more information, contact UniFirst at 888.879.2169 or visit UniFirst.com.

Donna Kish
PR/Communications Specialist
UniFirst Corporation
68 Jonspin Rd.
Wilmington, MA 01887

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