Press Release

Reggie Love, Former Personal Aide to President Barack Obama, Education Advocate and Entrepreneur, to Keynote ‘Summer Changes Everything™’ National Conference, October 23-25 in Phoenix
National Summer Learning Association Convenes National Conversation on Summer and Afterschool Programs as Essential Investments in Helping America’s Students Thrive

New York, NY – The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), is bringing together nearly 500 out-of-school time providers, school district administrators, community leaders, funders, and thought leaders for its Summer Changes Everything™ conference on October 23-25th in Phoenix, Arizona. The conference will address issues around providing our nation’s youth with quality out of school and summer learning opportunities.

This year’s theme – “We’ve Got the Power!” – calls upon educators, community members, policymakers and philanthropic leaders to “step up, speak out and stand in” the gap on behalf of our nation’s children. The national conference will feature a line-up of notable speakers and industry influencers, including, Reggie Love, former personal aide to President Barack Obama who is now Vice President of the Transatlantic Energy Group, as well as philanthropists of the nation’s top foundation leaders fueling summer and afterschool programs.

The conference offers more than 60 sessions, interactive workshops, and numerous networking opportunities. For the full schedule, click here.

***We request that all media register for the conference. To register as a member of the press, please email:***


  • Matthew Boulay, founder and CEO – National Summer Learning Association
  • Reggie Love, former personal aide to President Barack Obama who is now Vice President of the Transatlantic Energy Group; speaking on October 25 at 1:45 pm, Hyatt Regency Ballroom
  • Gigi Antoni, Director of Learning and Enrichment – The Wallace Foundation
  • Jennifer McCombs, Senior Policy Researcher and Director, Behavioral and Policy Sciences Department – RAND Corporation
  • Alejandro Gac-Artigas, Founder and Chief Executive Officer – Springboard Collaborative
  • Margaret McKenna, Former President of the Walmart Foundation and Member of the Massachusetts Board of Education
  • David Park, Executive Vice President of Communications and Strategy – Learning Heroes
  • Marlyn Torres, Corporate Vice President, Corporate Responsibility Senior Program Officer – New York Life Foundation
  • Rachel Gwaltney, Director of Policy and Partnerships – National Summer Learning Association
  • Monica Logan, VP of Programs and System Quality – National Summer Learning Association
  • Courtney Sullivan, Executive Director – Arizona Center for Afterschool Excellence
  • Winners of the coveted 2017 New York Life Foundation Excellence in Summer Learning Award, recognizing summer programs demonstrating excellence in accelerating academic achievement and promoting healthy development for low-income children and youth.
  • Students of the Dysart Teen Arts and Action Program in Phoenix


  • National conference about out-of-school and summer learning opportunities.


  • October 24-25th in Phoenix, Arizona – Hyatt Regency Phoenix Hotel | 122 N 2nd Street
  • Opening Session on Tuesday, October 24 from 8:30 – 10:00 AM, includes a not-to-miss panel: Powering Partnerships through Philanthropy Panel Discussion, moderated by Margaret McKenna, NSLA Board Chair and Former President of the Walmart Foundation
    • Some of the nation’s top foundation and corporate leaders take center stage and offer insightful perspectives on education trends that influence the philanthropic investments and powerful partnerships that are helping to sustain summer learning across the country, including:
      • Gigi Antoni, Director of Learning and Engagement – The Wallace Foundation
      • Marlyn Torres, Corporate Vice President, Corporate Responsibility Senior Program Officer – New York Life Foundation
      • Kari Pardoe, Associate Program Officer – Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
      • Dan Levi, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer – Clear Channel Outdoor Americas
  • For the full schedule, click here.


  • Research shows that summer learning loss is a significant contributor to the achievement gap – a gap which remains constant during the school year but widens during summer break.
  • Every summer, low-income youth lose two to three months in reading achievement while their higher-income peers make slight gains. And, most youth lose about two months of grade-level equivalency in math skills in the summer.
  • Year after year, these losses accumulate. By the end of third grade, four out of every five low-income students fail to read proficiently, making them four times more likely to drop out of high school, according to a report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
  • By fifth grade, cumulative years of summer learning loss can leave low-income students 2.5 to three years behind their peers.
  • Students with high attendance in voluntary, 5-6-week summer learning programs benefited in math and reading, according to a new RAND report funded by The Wallace Foundation.
  • Summer nutrition is also a significant issue. Six out of every seven schoolchildren who qualify for federally funded meals during do not have access to those meals during the summer, according to the Food Research Action Center.

Summer Changes Everything™ is supported in part by national conference media sponsor Youth Today and the following partners: The Wallace Foundation, Best Buy/Geek Squad Academy, Carson-Dellosa Publishing Group, EverFi, iHeartMedia, MyOn, Scholastic, Kids Read Now, New York Life Foundation and Write Brain Books.


For those who can’t make it to the conference but are interested in covering timely out of school learning opportunity topics, NSLA offers several story ideas to help writers tackle summer learning loss; explore the economics of the issue and offer tips and perspectives around solutions to keeping all kids learning, healthy and safe every summer. Please click here for a list of ideas.


About National Summer Learning Association

The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is the only national nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement gap by increasing access to high-quality summer learning opportunities. NSLA recognizes and disseminates what works in summer learning, develops and delivers capacity-building offerings and convenes and empowers key actors to embrace summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education. For more information, visit

This is a sponsored message and does not necessarily represent the views of the Education Writers Association, its board of directors, or its members. Want to see your release on the EWA site? Promote it with EWA.