About Us

Based in Portland, the Foundation long has reflected our founder’s desire to help and support disadvantaged Maine residents. A grandson of L.L. Bean, our founder, Tom Gorman, believed that his personal success was largely derived from the support he received from his family and community.  After his death in 2010, the Foundation pledged to continue Tom’s commitment to strengthen families and help communities in our state. In 2012, we created a new five-year plan that was driven by demographic data and informed by interviews with key stakeholders statewide, visits to each county and conversations with local and national experts.

Since then, the Foundation has worked to sharpen its strategic grant-making, invest in ideas that address the causes of problems, and become a resource on four key issues. Over the next five years and beyond, the Foundation hopes to:

  • Improve educational achievement for young Maine children
  • Promote successful transitions to adulthood for vulnerable older youth
  • Help struggling families to succeed
  • Enable low-income seniors to remain in their own homes as long as they possibly can

Our work comes at a challenging time. Across our state, residents are falling behind because of population changes, a stagnant economy, and an exodus of young people searching for better opportunities.  Too many people in Maine today experience poor educational outcomes, declining economic opportunity, and financial insecurity. Almost 40,000 children in our state are growing up in poverty, and less than a third of our fourth-graders read proficiently. More than a fifth of our young people drop out of school, and seniors in Maine live in poverty at higher rates than the national average.

These are serious challenges, and we believe that real progress will not be made through grant-making alone but by collaborating with others to share promising ideas and by capitalizing on our state’s considerable assets. There is much to build on. Leaders from the business, nonprofit, philanthropic and civic sectors increasingly want to work together to adopt new ideas and advance innovative policies.  And across the state, nonprofits increasingly want to achieve better results for the people they support.

While we continue to modestly support direct services that meet people’s immediate needs, the Foundation tries to achieve lasting, far-reaching results by:

  • Investing in innovative nonprofit organizations and agencies that produce results
  • Using data and rigorous evaluation to inform and guide our work
  • Helping to build the capacity of Maine service providers and others
  • Advancing systemic reform through investments in policy analysis and advocacy
  • Developing new public and private partnerships in Maine and nationwide to attract additional funding and support
  • Advancing promising research, ideas, and thinking around our issue areas.

Because our goals are ambitious, we invite you to join us to improve opportunities for our most vulnerable neighbors.

Our Mission

The John T. Gorman Foundation advances ideas and opportunities that can improve the lives of disadvantaged people in Maine.

To achieve the greatest impact, the Foundation has a special interest in strengthening families and helping communities provide them with the supports and opportunities they need to thrive.

This focus on strengthening families reflects our founder, Tom Gorman's recognition that his personal success and achievement were largely derived from the support provided to him by his family and community, as well as his desire to provide those less fortunate with opportunities to succeed.