$500,000 in Grants from John T. Gorman Foundation Boost Efforts to Ensure Child and Family Safety During Pandemic

Funding will be used to support victims of domestic violence and connect vulnerable families to services

In its second round of COVID Response Grants, the John T. Gorman Foundation has awarded $500,000 in grants to protect child and family safety during the pandemic. Half of the funding will go to organizations working to provide shelter and support to victims of domestic violence. The other $250,000 will help organizations continue in-person at-home visits with families –while complying with CDC guidelines – to assess their well-being and provide direct supports for basic needs.

“During the COVID pandemic, homes are supposed to be a refuge – the one place you can go to feel completely safe. But the combination of social isolation and great stress over the last few months has raised serious concerns about the safety of many vulnerable households in Maine,” said John T. Gorman Foundation Chief Program Officer Nicole Witherbee. “These latest John T. Gorman Foundation grants were made to help victims of domestic violence escape their abusers and ensure parents can access the resources, support, and relationships they need to provide safe and healthy environments for their children. The Foundation feels fortunate to be able to support our partners’ critical work in these areas.”

The Foundation made an initial round of COVID Response Grants in April, awarding $500,000 in grants to address immediate needs of food and shelter. In the months since, issues around child and family safety also emerged as concerns. Victims of domestic violence have had to shelter in place with their abusers, while domestic violence service providers have had difficulty meeting new levels of demand. At the same time, social distancing requirements have made it more difficult for social service agencies to reach vulnerable families with young children, raising the risks for unsafe situations and unmet needs at home.

Domestic Violence Grants – $250,000

Grants will allow already full domestic violence shelters to place additional families in hotels or apartments when possible and ensure that they have food, phones, and the means to keep themselves and their families safe. Funding will also go toward the operation of crisis hotlines.

  • $140,000 to the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence – $20,000 for education and outreach with the rest allocated to eight member organizations throughout the state: Caring Unlimited; Family Violence Project; Hope & Justice Project; New Hope for Women; Next Step Domestic Violence Project; Partners for Peace; Safe Voices; and Through These Doors.
  • $95,000 to the Wabanaki Women’s Coalition – $20,000 will be used for education and outreach and the rest allocated to five domestic and sexual violence advocacy centers serving the Aroostook Band of Micmacs, Houlton Band of Maliseets, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Indian Township, Passamaquoddy Tribe at Pleasant Point, and Penobscot Indian Nation.
  • $15,000 has been allocated to the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, which serves refugee and immigrant communities through culturally and linguistically sensitive services.

Child Safety Grants – $250,000

Grants will help non-profit organizations make regular in-person home visits to families while complying with CDC guidelines. The visits will allow trained professionals to identify safety risks and support families by reducing stress, connecting them to resources, providing education on safe practices for young children, and offer direct supports such as food, diapers and toys.

  • $60,000 to Wabanaki Public Health – serving the five Maine Tribes
  • $40,000 to Community Concepts Inc. – serving Androscoggin & Oxford Counties
  • $40,000 to Kennebec Valley Community Action Program – serving Kennebec & Somerset Counties
  • $25,000 to York County Community Action Corporation – serving York County
  • $25,000 to Penquis Community Action Program – serving Penobscot County
  • $25,000 to The Opportunity Alliance – serving Cumberland County
  • $15,000 to Aroostook County Action Program – serving Aroostook County

In addition, $20,000 has been awarded to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to support education and outreach efforts on safe sleep practices and the Period of PURPLE Crying to prevent infant and toddler mortality.

About the John T. Gorman Foundation

John T. Gorman, known as Tom, was a grandson of L.L. Bean and established the Foundation in 1995 to help disadvantaged Mainers. In recent years, the independent, statewide Foundation has moved to focus strategically on four key areas: improving educational achievement for children; promoting successful transitions to adulthood for vulnerable older youth; helping struggling parents to support their families and enabling low-income seniors to remain in their homes as long as possible.

For more information about the John T. Gorman Foundation, visit www.jtgfoundation.org.