Welcome to the John T. Gorman Foundation’s Winter Newsletter – our first of the new year. As we peer into the next twelve months, there is, at least from the Foundation’s particular lens, much to look forward to and appreciate. Across our State, lots of caring, creative folks who we’re proud to call grantees and partners are working collaboratively to level the playing field for our most disadvantaged Mainers. We’ve tried to highlight just some of them in this Newsletter.
You’ll read about Families Forward, an innovative Two-Generation initiative in Bangor that takes a comprehensive approach to improving economic and educational results for children and parents living in that City’s Capeheart neighborhood. Originally driven by a partnership between Bangor Housing and the Boys and Girls Club, this effort now involves a range of other community partners focused on advancing family stability and economic success in that public housing community. It’s a terrific example of what we mean by a Two-Generation approach and one that has implications for how other housing authorities in Maine address the needs and promote the stability of the families living in their communities.
We also take you out to Oxford County, where schools, parents, mental health providers and other community-based groups are working together to address mental health challenges by improving child and family resiliency. Using a range of strategies that include creating trauma-informed schools, parent peer groups, resiliency toolkits and data-informed collaboratives, the Oxford County Resiliency Project is a great example of what can happen when communities see real need. Oxford County’s above average teen-suicide rate led providers, parents and school officials to work together in a way that takes a whole-family approach to this challenging issue.
Shifting gears a bit, we also showcase a bold effort to advance digital literacy at Statewide scale. This important project – the Maine Digital Inclusion Initiative – is being led by Axiom Education and Technology Center (AETC), no stranger to the digital literacy challenge. Building on their nationally recognized work in Washington County, AETC launched the National Digital Equity Center, which has creatively leveraged a range of funding sources and partners to advance an exciting plan to make digital literacy instruction available and accessible in every Maine County over the next few years. It’s a great example of successful, well-evaluated work taken to scale.
Finally, we’re pleased to use the occasion of this Newsletter to publicly announce the folks who’ll comprise the third cohort of the John T. Gorman Fellowship, which begins in March; and the upcoming opening of our annual Direct Services Grants Program, aimed at helping organizations meet the basic needs of disadvantaged people across our State.
We hope you enjoy this Winter Newsletter. As always, we welcome your reactions and questions, and hope you’ll contact us if you’d like to learn more about anything you read here.