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.


Historically redlined communities at higher risk of COVID-19 morbidity

September 20, 2020 – Families

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) finds that neighborhoods that have been historically redlined also have higher rates of preexisting chronic conditions that increase the risk of COVID-19 morbidity. Redlining was a discriminatory practice that restricted financial and other institutions from investing in certain neighborhoods largely based on their racial makeup. Historic redlining led to decades of disinvestment in these communities, and the impacts of this systematic racism on current health outcomes is clear. #covid-19 #racialequity

NBER explores reasons for persisting unmet need despite CARES Act bolstering the social safety net

September 20, 2020 – Families

A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research explores why material hardships have continued for many Americans despite the robust policy response in the CARES Act. The paper details estimated economic need and the details of federal policy action including the CARES Act. Ultimately, the authors conclude that there are three main drivers of the remaining unmet economic need: that relief was delayed, relief payments were modest (with the exception of unemployment insurance), and there have been holes in coverage. #covid-19

Rural counties with higher percentages of Black and Hispanic/Latinx residents have higher COVID-19 mortality rates

September 20, 2020 – Families

New research published in The Journal of Rural Health explores COVID-19 death rates in rural areas, finding that rural counties with greater shares of Black and Hispanic/Latinx residents report higher death rates. Authors used COVID-19 daily death data for 1,976 nonmetropolitan (rural) counties from the beginning of March through the end of July 2020. This research shows that COVID-19 mortality risk is not only higher for Black and Hispanic/Latinx residents of cities, but for those living in rural areas as well. #covid-19 #rural #racialequity

Colorado organization connects rural businesses with information, community

September 18, 2020 – Families

The Daily Yonder explores how one organization has supported rural Colorado businesses during the pandemic. The organization, called Startup Colorado, supports new businesses and rural-based entrepreneurs across the state. At the beginning of the pandemic, Startup Colorado starting hosting weekly regional update calls with information from local and federal agencies. Besides providing a space for information dissemination, the regional calls also started to form a virtual community where entrepreneurs can connect. #covid-19 #rural

College enrollment declines, especially among disadvantaged students

September 16, 2020 – Older Youth

The Washington Post describes early signs of disproportionate college enrollment declines and higher dropouts among low-income students, students of color, and rural students. Declines in enrollment are greatest at community colleges. College enrollment increased during the Great Recession and tends to increase in any economic downturn, although the opposite is happening in the current pandemic-related recession. Some key reasons for this include concerns about exposure to the virus, lost income prohibiting enrollment, and challenges with virtual classes such as insufficient access to broadband and other technology at home. As enrollment declines unevenly, concerns about perpetuating inequality abound. #covid-19 #education #racialequity #rural

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

Older youth need targeted messaging that presents safe ways to interact with peers

September 16, 2020 – Older Youth

In a new article in The Conversation, researchers from the University of Michigan share their findings from a survey of youth ages 14-24 and their experiences during the pandemic. Although this survey was not designed to be nationally representative, its qualitative nature allows researchers a deeper view into youth perspectives. Researchers found that, although youth are taking COVID-19 seriously, misunderstandings about best practices in social distancing have contributed to more risky behaviors. Over half of survey respondents learned about COVID-19 from media geared towards adults and authors suggest that more targeted messaging for this age group could help spread accurate information. As socialization is important for youth mental health, it is crucial to present young people with safe opportunities to interact, and the information necessary to do so safely. #covid-19

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

How cities can become more racially and economically inclusive in COVID-19 recovery

September 15, 2020 – Families

The Urban Institute reviews their rankings of U.S. cities based on how they have become more or less racially and economically inclusive between 2013 and 2016. Cities such as Duluth, Minnesota improved their overall inclusion rank through reductions in racial segregation, their racial poverty gap, their racial homeownership gap, the share of households that are rent-burdened, and income segregation, among other factors. From this analysis, authors propose eight strategies that cities can use to promote and increase inclusion as they recover from COVID-19. These strategies include adopting a shared vision, sustaining bold leadership, recruiting partners across various sectors, building voice and power withing disenfranchised communities, leveraging existing assets, taking a regional approach, reframing inclusion as integral to growth, and adopting policies and programs that promote inclusion. #covid-19 #racialequity

Drop in school meals raises concern about food insecure children, hurts school budgets

September 11, 2020 – Young Children, Older Youth

Texas school districts note that they are distributing far fewer school meals during remote learning than they did before the pandemic. Houston Independent School District now serves around 30,000 meals per day, compared to their usual 250,000. Not only are fewer students receiving the meals they need, but school districts are also losing money that they would otherwise be reimbursed by the federal government for their school nutrition programs. At the beginning of September, the USDA approved extensions allowing the flexible summer meal programs to continue this fall. While this means districts can serve more children, under more flexible guidelines, many districts already had a fall plan in place that assumed the extension wouldn’t be granted. In addition, the approved extension is slated to end December 31, making meal service strategies unclear for the second half of the school year. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

Hotel rooms may continue being used to house those experiencing homelessness

September 11, 2020 – Families

Booking hotel rooms is one of the strategies state and local governments have been using to provide safe housing for people experiencing homelessness during COVID-19. This strategy had been used in the past where shelter space was insufficient, and it became especially effective in the pandemic context since it allows for proper social distancing. Given the success of this approach and the grim prospects in tourism for the foreseeable future, some argue that hotel rooms could be acquired as more permanent housing for those in need. In some cases, this could look like long-term contracts with hotels, in other cases it could be the outright public purchase of distressed hotels. #covid-19 #homelessness

New ‘dark store’ retail model could support food access and businesses

September 11, 2020 – Families, Seniors

Whole Foods recently opened its first purposely online-only store in Brooklyn. This ‘dark store’ will not be open for shoppers, but instead will operate as a hub for packing online orders for delivery or pickup. Other retailers are converting existing stores into dark stores to keep up with increasing demand for online shopping and as a lifeline for stores that have been struggling. Although demand for online shopping options has been growing, the pandemic has accelerated this trend. Expanded online shopping and delivery gives consumers not only convenience but critical food access, especially for seniors, people with disabilities, and anyone who cannot shop in person during the pandemic. #covid-19 #foodsecurity