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The Next Evolution of Our Work

A message from John T. Gorman Foundation President & CEO Nicole Witherbee

We are excited to share an update on the direction and focus of the John T. Gorman Foundation’s work over the coming years. We remain committed to improving the lives of Maine people most acutely experiencing the adverse effects of poverty. But, to make greater progress toward that goal, we will be focusing more intensively on ensuring that Maine children are resilient and ready to succeed.

Over the past year, the board and staff of the Foundation have spent considerable time assessing our past grantmaking – utilizing data, asking critical questions and revisiting our mission and values – so that we could ascertain whether we are having the kind of results that we want to see for Maine people. At the same time, we examined demographic and other data to determine the populations most impacted by the adverse effects of poverty.

As a result of this work, we determined that to achieve the greatest impact over the next several years, the Foundation needs to go further upstream and focus on improving outcomes for Maine children. And, as research and our own programmatic work has shown, the best way to do that is with comprehensive approaches that strengthen families and improve the conditions around them that are critical to their success.

Beginning in 2023, we will work toward a goal of all Maine children being resilient and ready to succeed. Our grantmaking and partnerships will focus more intensively on strengthening the well-being of children by ensuring that they and their caregivers have the tools and supports they need to thrive. This work will include initiatives that serve children and parents simultaneously and improve family well-being in multiple areas in an effort to prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

Too many Maine kids are experiencing anxiety, neglect, trauma, economic insecurity and other obstacles that can cause a lifetime of negative effects. By focusing our efforts upstream and using approaches that serve whole families, we believe we can help put more Maine children on a trajectory for a brighter future.

Moreover, we believe by focusing on children and their families we can impact generations of Maine people – ultimately leading to positive ripple effects across our workforce, economy, and state. Parents earning higher incomes; children who are succeeding in school; families who are empowered and connected. We will work with partners to test new approaches and strategies that can create these outcomes, sharing what we learn so their application can be expanded. With our partners, we hope to generate exciting opportunities to help practitioners, policymakers, and communities create the statewide conditions Maine children and families need to thrive.

While we plan to focus more intensively on children and families, we remain committed to helping all Mainers experiencing poverty. The Foundation will continue to administer its application-based Direct Services Grant Program for organizations that fulfill immediate and basic needs for people in Maine experiencing poverty – needs like food, housing, transportation, and physical/mental health services.

Thank you for your engagement as we move into this exciting new chapter, and please stay tuned for updates via our website, newsletter, and social media. Later this year, we will relaunch our website with further details and highlights about this important work for children and families. We welcome your questions and feedback and look forward to working with you.

Nicole Witherbee
President & CEO

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