Resource Library

COVID-19 Update: The John T. Gorman Foundation is curating a list of resources, emerging best practices, and innovative ideas from across the country to help local organizations serve vulnerable Mainers during the coronavirus outbreak. To access those resources, visit or enter Covid-19 in the keyword search. Those results can be further focused by using the “Filter by” menu above to filter by population type (Young Children, Older Youth, Families, and Seniors) or by clicking the following links: childcare, education, food security, housing, rural areas, and workforce.

The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values, we offer these research and best practice resources collected from reputable sources across the country. The library also includes briefs and reports the Foundation has commissioned or supported, a listing of which can be found here.


Students, particularly students of color, are falling behind in school

December 6, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

In early December, a surge of new data and research on student performance became available and the findings are consistently bleak. A national study from McKinsey & Co. estimated that pandemic-related disruptions and remote work in spring 2020 set students of color back three to five months and white students back one to three months in school material. More currently, many school districts have released data showing a sharp increase in failure rates this fall. The spike in failure rates tends to be much higher for students of color and also among English language learners and students in special education programs. All this evidence suggests that learning losses that began in the spring are continuing this fall and disproportionately impacting disadvantaged students. #covid-19 #education #racialequity

New Hampshire public school enrollment decreased in the 2020-2021 school year

November 23, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

New data from the New Hampshire Department of Education reveals changes in public school enrollment during the pandemic. While the state has been typically seeing a one percent decrease in enrollment each year, enrollment in the fall of the 2020-2021 school year had decreased by four percent. Much of this decrease is likely due to families choosing homeschooling or private schoolsover public school given pandemic related uncertainties. However, there was notable variation across the state. Concord, Manchester, and Nashua school districts all reported declines of 4-6 percent and while some more northern recreational areas reported massive spikes in enrollment (such as in Waterville Valley with a 200 percent increase). These enrollment increases are largely driven by families relocating to historically seasonal homes during the pandemic. Since state education funding is tied to the number of enrolled students, these changes—and how fleeting or enduring they are—add confusion to school district budgeting. #covid-19 #education

Playspace equity is an area ripe for rural philanthropy, nonprofits

November 20, 2020 – Young Children

Neighborhood playgrounds are community assets that promote health and wellbeing as well as connection between residents. Rural areas can face barriers to playspaces such as physical distance and a limited local tax base. Given constraints on local governments, philanthropies and nonprofits have been successful in stepping in to create playspaces. For example, the nonprofit KABOOM! has engaged with communities over the last two decades to expand playspace access for around 11 million children. #rural

New Hampshire reports spike in number of children awaiting psychiatric services

November 19, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

The State of New Hampshire’s Office of the Child Advocate reports a substantial increase in children needing emergency mental health care during the pandemic. In the first few months of 2020 before the pandemic hit, the daily count of people under 18 years old in emergency rooms awaiting acute psychiatric care was less than 15. In fall 2020, the daily count rose to a ‘historic’ 30+ kids. Although an inadequate number of psychiatric beds in the state is contributing to the backlog, one of the best ways to address this challenge is through bolstering prevention mental health services for children to avoid a crisis warranting emergency care. #covid-19 #mentalhealth

For early childhood educators, financial support is key to facilitating participation in professional development

November 4, 2020 – Young Children

New research explores the facilitators and barriers to participation in professional development opportunities by early care and education professionals. The majority of center-based (88 percent) and home-based (80 percent) teachers and caregivers reported having participated in a professional development workshop in the past year. However, much smaller shares (around one-third) had taken college courses or participated in coaching. Receiving financial support was the factor most consistently associated with participating in professional development for both center-based and home-based workers. States can encourage participation in professional development by increasing financial support and facilitating access to free or low-cost training opportunities. #education #childcare

Childhood exposure to the EITC associated with better health in young adulthood

October 20, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

A new study in the Journal of Public Economics evaluates the long-term impact of exposure to the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) from ages 0-18 on health outcomes of young adults ages 22-27. Researchers used data from the 1968- 2017 Panel Study of Income Dynamics, a nationally representative household survey that has followed a group of households and their descendants since 1968. The authors measure EITC exposure as the maximum federal and state credit a family could receive based on their state, family size, and the year. They choose to model the effects of being “exposed to” the EITC (rather than actual amount received) so as to preserve the models’ ability to separate the EITC’s effects from family income (since the two measures would be too closely related to be included in a single model). Findings suggest the availability of the EITC during childhood was associated with higher self-reported health and lower obesity among young adults.

Most federal spending on children in 2019 came from tax provisions and health programs

October 9, 2020 – Young Children

A new fact sheet from the Urban Institute details federal government spending on children in 2019. The program benefiting children with the highest federal expenditures was the Child Tax Credit at $118 billion in 2019. Although tax provisions are typically associated with adults, authors find that 40 percent of all federal spending on children was from tax provisions. Besides the Child Tax Credit, other key tax provisions that benefit children include the Earned Income Tax Credit (at $59 billion) and the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored insurance (at $24 billion). The program with the second-highest federal expenditures on children in 2019 was Medicaid at $98 billion. Other health programs were also sources of significant spending on kids, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) at $17 billion.

Poverty-related health inequities found in children as young as five

October 9, 2020 – Young Children

Research forthcoming in Health Affairs identifies developmental disparities by income and race/ethnicity as early as kindergarten. Researchers trained kindergarten teachers to administer a developmental screening tool in 98 school districts across the nation, collecting data on 183,717 children between 2010 and 2017. Results indicate that lower neighborhood income is distinctly linked with vulnerabilities in children’s health development, and that disparities are further stratified by children’s race/ethnicity. Black children had the highest rates of vulnerabilities, followed by Hispanic and Latinx children, with Asian children having the lowest level of vulnerability. Authors emphasize the importance of achieving health parity in early childhood before disparities calcify into lifelong trajectories of unequal wellbeing. #racialequity

Even short poverty spells are related to lower extracurricular involvement for children

September 23, 2020 – Young Children

The Census Bureau reports new findings from the longitudinal Survey on Income and Program Participation (SIPP), finding that even short spells of poverty are linked with lower participation in extracurricular activities like sports or music among school-age children (6 to 17). Using three measures of extra-curricular participation—in a gifted program, in sports, or in lessons like music or dance—the author finds the most consistent differences in sports and lesson involvement. Children who were poor even part of the year were less likely to participate in these two types of activities than those who were never poor. Children who were always poor were less likely to be in a gifted program, but those who were intermittently poor participated at rates similar to higher income children. This suggests that there may be cost-related access barriers to sports and music that are less intensive for gifted programs, which may be offered most often at no cost via public education setting. #education

Mathematica study models risks in back to school strategies for use by school decisionmakers

September 16, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Mathematica worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Education to conduct simulations of a model predicting the spread of COVID-19 in schools under different local circumstances (including local community infection rate) and operating procedures. A substantial finding from these simulations is that the strategies of wearing masks and reducing student contact outside of class do help meaningfully reduce the spread of COVID-19. Researchers found that these precautions combined with a part-time hybrid school operation strategy were very effective. The report outlines different scenarios and operating procedures that school decisionmakers can use to inform their approaches. #covid-19 #education

Broadband providers create new program to connect low-income students to internet

September 15, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

In the wake of inaction from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the broadband industry commits to support low-income students with their new K-12 Bridge to Broadband program. The program will identify households that have chosen to not subscribe to broadband, which is often for cost-related reasons. Then the broadband industry will offer a special rate to school districts and local entities to cover discounted broadband service for these households. #covid-19 #education

Northern New England faces challenges as school-age population decreases and education costs increase

September 15, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

A new regional brief from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s New England Public Policy Center explores the declining school-age population in northern New England. The research finds that all 40 New England counties saw shrinking numbers of children between 2000 and 2017, a trend that is expected to continue for nearly all counties into 2030. Decreasing K-12 enrollment has been coupled with lower shares of state and local spending, and higher per-pupil expenditures than in other parts of the country. The report finds that 14% of Northern New England public schools open in 2000 were closed by 2017, as districts consolidate and close schools to save on overhead costs. The authors suggest options include increasing revenues, readjusting allocations to education versus other municipal costs, reducing the cost of delivering K-12 education, or increasing the school-aged population with policies and incentives. #education