How the Foundation is Supporting Vulnerable Mainers During the COVID-19 Outbreak

A message from John T. Gorman Foundation President & CEO Tony Cipollone

First, I hope this email finds you and your family safe and healthy. Clearly, the last few weeks have been unsettling as the coronavirus pandemic has reached into our state, not only raising concerns about public health, but upending how we live and work in nearly every way. In a very short time, we’ve had to adjust to numerous realities that would have been unimaginable just a few weeks ago – schools closed, thousands out of work, and orders to stay at home, to name a few.

Life has been made more difficult for all, but especially so for vulnerable Mainers who were already facing great adversity before the outbreak. The challenges facing our most disadvantaged neighbors have not gone away; in fact, they have worsened. And the nonprofits and systems that help them meet their needs are being tested on multiple fronts.

The John T. Gorman Foundation is grateful to the organizations and communities that have risen to this unprecedented challenge.  As have other Maine foundations, businesses and government agencies, we seek to do our part to meet the ever-growing needs emerging across our state. This week, our Board of Directors approved a total of $500,000 in COVID-19 response grants to 11 Maine nonprofits – $250,000 to provide safe shelter to homeless populations and $250,000 to distribute food to those in need. (A full list of grantees is available on our website.)

We have also made a $25,000 contribution to the United Way of Greater Portland’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund, which will make grants to local organizations serving vulnerable populations most affected by the emerging health, economic, and social impacts of the outbreak.

In addition, we have extended the Foundation’s deadline for nonprofits to apply for our 2020 Direct Services Grant Program to April 15, and we plan to streamline our review process to ensure that funds are quickly distributed. These grants of up to $25,000 go to support the efforts of nonprofits to help low-income Mainers meet their most immediate basic needs. We expect to distribute up to $700,000 to support this year’s program. More information is available here.

We believe all these funds will have an immediate impact in helping our partners strengthen and expand efforts that are already underway to provide food, shelter and other supports to Mainers in need. Please know that as the longer-term effects of the outbreak become clear in the months ahead, the Foundation will continue looking for the most impactful ways to support the systems and organizations that Maine’s children, older youth, families, and seniors depend on.

Again, the John T. Gorman Foundation is grateful to all the leaders, individuals, and organizations who are not only adapting to the “new normal,” but stepping up to serve an ever-growing number of Mainers in need.

Thank you and stay safe,


Tony Cipollone
President and CEO
John T. Gorman Foundation