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 www.jtgfoundation.org/resources/covid-19 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.

 

New food relief initiative in Vermont successful in supporting rural communities

September 8, 2020 – Families

In early August, Vermont started a food relief initiative called Vermont Everyone Eats! which pays local restaurants to supply meals to residents in need. Volunteers help hand out meals to those in need, who line up at drive-through style distribution sites. The program was first rolled out in the town of Brattleboro, where about 650 meals are provided per day. The program was started using CARES Act funds and they are considering expanding to other rural communities. Ten percent of the food that restaurants prepare must be from local farms, which helps support those businesses as well. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #rural

States with broadband funding program have better access

September 1, 2020 – Families

Rural researchers describe their new work on broadband policy in the Daily Yonder, focusing on how three specific policies—state funding for broadband, presence of a state broadband office, and restrictions on municipal or cooperative broadband provision—affect access. The authors find that state broadband funding is the only policy consistently associated with availability of high-speed internet and multiple internet options, particularly for rural places. This work is especially relevant in the context of telework and remote learning in the pandemic. #covid-19 #rural

New COVID-19 cases in rural counties now higher than national average

August 15, 2020 – Families

Rural experts at the Daily Yonder document new COVID-19 infection rates for counties at different levels of urbanicity. The research finds that new cases in nonmetropolitan counties are rising, exceeding the national new-case rate as of mid-August, although new cases rates are still highest in major metropolitan areas (and now, lowest in the suburbs). These high rural rates represent a reversal from trends early in the pandemic, when rural places were largely insulated from the spread realized in metropolitan areas. #covid-19 #rural

Rural educators creatively respond to connectivity gaps, but need support

August 10, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

As recent research shows that rural school districts were less likely to provide remote learners with devices and mobile hotspots than urban districts in the pandemic (despite similar lack of access across places), a new Brookings piece explores solutions. The authors elevate strategies that were successful in some rural spaces, including mapping local places with internet access, purchasing cellular data for students, directing families to free or low cost internet providers, and setting out hotspots and outdoor work space on school grounds. For rural communities struggling with transportation, teachers checked in by phone or recorded video lessons and delivered via USB drive. While these strategies illustrate the creativity in addressing rural connectivity challenges, the authors also acknowledge that these efforts require serious support from their local, state, and federal leaders who can help fund and facilitate these and other solutions that are tailored to individual communities’ and families’ needs. #covid-19 #education #rural

North Carolina health providers give smartphones to connect patients with mental health services

August 7, 2020 – Families

Two health providers in rural North Carolina—Vaya Health and Partners Behavioral Health Management—came up with a plan to keep patients connected to their mental health services when the pandemic hit. They identified 1,000 patients who did not have access to a computer or for phone for telehealth appointments and gave them a free smartphone with a data plan. Verizon provided the phones for free and the providers paid for the data plans. By investing in connecting these patients to mental health services they hope to reduce future hospitalizations and emergency department visits. Further, the phones have also provided a way for patients to maintain social relationships, which is also important for mental health. #covid-19 #rural #mentalhealth

Rural social workers share advice on how to prepare for another wave of COVID-19

July 23, 2020 – Young Children

The National Rural Health Association published a piece in Rural Health Voices featuring the unique perspectives of rural child social workers during the pandemic. Rural social workers offer insight on the challenges they have faced in the pandemic, including technology access issues and the deep personal impact of seeing clients affected. Some suggestions to support rural social workers as the pandemic continues include having sufficient PPE, creating a comprehensive plan, tying state systems like education and health care together, having adequate technology available, focusing on self-care, and collaborating with local attorneys to ensure rural families can access available resources. #covid-19 #rural

California farm provides reliable fresh produce for rural community

July 14, 2020 – Families

Located in rural Plumas County, California, a nonprofit focused on food security called Lost Sierra Food Project owns and operates Rugged Roots Farm. In response to food insecurity in the pandemic, the farm started an Honor System Fridge that makes local food more accessible to the community. The fridge lists prices and asks patrons to take what they would like and leave the appropriate amount of money. So far, the fridge has never been short. The fridge was especially helpful at the beginning of the pandemic when many typical grocery stores were out of fresh vegetables. The farm also provides weekly produce boxes at free or reduced prices for those in need or in exchange for volunteer work on the farm. #covid-19 #rural #foodsecurity

Rural philanthropy even more important in facing long-term consequences of pandemic

July 9, 2020 – Families

Health Affairs’ blog highlights how philanthropy has worked to support rural communities during the pandemic. As the public health crisis continues, and nonprofit and government resources continue to shrink, rural funders can play an important role in filling the gaps. As authors note, this role is not relevant for the immediate response, but also in the longer-term recovery needs facing rural areas. Several examples are provided, including the Episcopal Health Foundation in east Texas that began by funding grantees’ telehealth programs at the start of the pandemic. As COVID-19 continued, the Foundation solicited community input about other needs including addressing social isolation and supporting small nonprofits with technical assistance. #covid-19 #rural

Huge surge of COVID-19 cases in Sun Belt impacts much different demographics than in original hotspots

July 2, 2020 – Families

A new article from Brookings explores the demographics of the new wave of COVID-19 cases as of June 28 in the “Sun Belt”—a region spanning the South and West of the nation. The states with the largest increases in cases are Florida, Texas, Arizona, North Carolina, and South Carolina. At the same time, the greatest decreases in new cases are seen in some of the original hotspots like New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Massachusetts. The demographics of the Sun Belt region are considerably different from the metropolitan hotspots that were hit hard earlier. Notably, Sun Belt cases extend into outer suburban, smaller, and nonmetropolitan (rural) counties, although also reaching urban and inner suburban counties near Houston, Dallas, Phoenix, Orlando, and Tampa. The Sun Belt surge is also impacting more ‘red’ counties that supported Trump, while previously many of the hotspots were in ‘blue’ counties. #rural #covid-19

Rural Pennsylvania hospital pivots to respond to the pandemic

July 1, 2020 – Families, Seniors

Butler Memorial Hospital in Butler, Pennsylvania is home to the Regional Alliance Chronic Disease Coordination and Management (RACDCM) Program. The program supports patients age 45 and older who have at least two chronic diseases by providing chronic disease management resources. At the beginning of the pandemic, the RACDCM Program switched to a telehealth model. This transition was eased by previous telehealth experience. In order to reach patients in rural areas without internet access, they are adding dial-in options so patients may join sessions by phone. The RACDCM Program team has focused on supporting patients at home to avoid hospital visits for chronic condition care; the hospital reports overall lower hospital visits, including from those with chronic conditions. #covid-19 #rural

Community resilience tool finds rural communities are more vulnerable than urban counterparts to disasters

June 29, 2020 – Families, Seniors

The U.S. Census Bureau developed a new experimental tool called the Community Resilience Estimates (CRE) that measures the ability of a community to respond to and recover from disasters and other emergencies—including COVID-19. Estimates are available at state and county levels. A state or county is considered high risk if at least 30 percent of the population has three or more risk factors (such as low household income, presence of chronic conditions, aged 65 and older, lack of health insurance). They found that 30 percent of all rural counties are at high-risk compared to only 14 percent of all urban counties. #covid-19 #rural

Mobile food shelves distribute food throughout Minnesota

June 29, 2020 – Families

Across the state, Minnesota’s hunger relief network has worked together to find innovative ways to distribute food to those in need. In one rural town, two refrigerated tractor-trailers were set up in a parking lot to disseminate fresh food to around 550 families. One large organization in the network, Hunger Solutions Minnesota, was able to distribute $6 million of federal funding to smaller nonprofits so that they could purchase refrigerated trucks to enhance their reach. In one suburban area, The Open Door Pantry organization assembled mobile drive-through pop-up food pantries. They served over 18,000 people in May 2020; 68 percent of those served had not previously visited the pantry. #covid-19 #foodsecurity