Giving Youth Voice in the Systems That Support Them

After a survey of high school students in Somerset County revealed concerning challenges and unmet needs, a Foundation-funded task force of young leaders convened this summer to strategize systemic ways to make youth feel more supported and understood in school and the community. From their work, important lessons emerged about raising the voices of youth – and getting adults to listen.

Q&A with Janet Smith, New Ventures Maine

Income is important to a family’s financial stability, but so too are wealth and assets, the reservoir of resources that can be tapped to weather emergencies and invest in the future. As the Foundation prepares to release a brief in the coming weeks with recommendations to make wealth-building opportunities more accessible and equitable, we spoke with John T. Gorman Fellow Janet Smith – just named Director of New Ventures Maine – for her perspective on why helping low-income families build savings is important to their long-term success and what barriers currently stand in their way.

Snapshots & Updates: 2021 Direct Services Grant Program

Last spring, the John T. Gorman Foundation awarded $1 million to 71 organizations through its annual Direct Services Grant Program. Since then, grantees have done exceptional work to help low-income Mainers meet their essential needs amid the challenges of a prolonged pandemic. Here in their own words, a sample of grantees offer updates and snapshots of their work this year.

Lewiston Receives Transformational Grant. What Happens Now?

Recent news that Lewiston will receive a $30 million grant to build new housing and strengthen community resources in the Tree Streets Neighborhood is cause for celebration. But in many ways, the work has just begun to transform this neighborhood into a place where all residents can thrive. This article offers an overview of the impact this funding will have and shares insight into where assistance is still needed.

Analysis: Strategies for Rebuilding and Strengthening Maine’s Child Care System

The pandemic revealed the fragility and weaknesses of many of our society’s most critical systems – including a child care system that was already operating on razor thin margins and unable to meet demand. With many pandemic restrictions now lifted, challenges remain for providers and families. But there is also opportunity to rebuild the child care system in a way that works better for Maine families. In this analysis, Foundation Senior Program Associate Jennifer Beck, Ph.D., highlights efforts already underway that offer promising routes forward.

VIDEO: Alumni Offer Perspectives on John T. Gorman Fellowship

As the Foundation accepts applications for the fourth cohort of the John T. Gorman Fellowship, it held a virtual information session where four alumni offered their perspectives on how the program has shaped their work and took questions from prospective applicants. The info session also included an overview of the program by Foundation President &… Read more »

Confronting a Mental Health Crisis for Youth in Maine

Youth already faced numerous mental health challenges before the pandemic, and this year of stress, disengagement, and isolation has only worsened the situation. In response, the Foundation awarded $250,000 to 11 organizations helping youth through this difficult time. Here’s what three grantees had to say about what youth need right now, and how their organizations have overcome the constraints of the pandemic to provide support.

Pandemic is Revelatory Moment for Preble Street

Preble Street has a long history of responding and adapting to emergencies in the community, and the pandemic has been no exception. Many elements of their operation have had to change in order to safely serve those experiencing homelessness. But as challenging as this time has been, said Executive Director Mark Swann, it’s also been what Preble Street needed to discover new approaches to improving outcomes for its most vulnerable clients.

Meet Our 2021 Direct Services Grantees

The John T. Gorman Foundation recently announced its 2021 Direct Services Grants, awarding a total of $1 million to 71 organizations who are addressing the immediate needs of vulnerable Mainers in all 16 counties. We are incredibly grateful to all of these grantees for meeting an unprecedented level of demand for food, shelter, and other forms of assistance at this difficult time.