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.


Study demonstrates the limitations of text messaging as a strategy for supporting college preparation

February 24, 2021 – Older Youth

Researchers from Abt Associates and Mathematica evaluated a U.S. Department of Education (DOE) college preparation program for the Institute of Education Sciences at DOE. The program—called Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP)—used text messages to share college information and engage with high school students. The program aimed to use text-message-based advising to encourage first-generation and low-income students to enroll and persist in college. While previous studies have found text messaging supports are effective, this study found that the messaging did not have an impact on college enrollment. It is possible that other supports GEAR UP students received eclipsed any benefits that the text messaging may have had. #education

Diaper need linked with food insecurity risk among WIC participants, but no program to address need

February 23, 2021 – Families

A new study in Preventive Medicine Reports describes how authors surveyed Vermont WIC participants with questions on food insecurity risk and an understudied form of material hardship: diaper need. Authors found that half of participating households were at risk for food insecurity and one-third reported diaper need, with a strong association between the two measures. For families who experienced diaper need, strategies included borrowing, stretching supplies, buying on credit, or switching to other materials. The authors, of UVM and the Vermont Department of Health, emphasize that interventions to address diaper need are a health equity response for families with children. #foodsecurity

Substantial fall in number of rural COVID-19 deaths, new infections

February 23, 2021 – Families

After setting new records in December and early January, COVID-19 death rates and new infection rates are dropping substantially in rural (nonmetropolitan) counties. In the past week alone (February 14–20), the number of deaths in rural counties decreased by one third (from hovering around 3,600 down to 2,404 deaths). The number of new COVID-19 cases has dropped by 75% from the peak at 230,000 new infections the first week of January down to 56,296 mid-February. The rural death rate remains higher than the urban (metropolitan) rate, although both rates have dropped by about a third in the last week. #covid-19 #rural

State school-aid policies and poverty segregation are related to racial and socioeconomic test-score gaps in New England metro areas

February 22, 2021 – General

New research from the New England Public Policy Center explores socioeconomic and racial test-score gaps in metropolitan areas of New England, accounting for state school-aid policies and poverty segregation. Northern New England states have the smallest average test-score gaps, although these states are also less racially diverse. In terms of poverty segregation, the study found that metropolitan areas where low-income students are less segregated were associated with smaller racial and socioeconomic test-score gaps. More progressive state school-aid policies—those that provide more aid to school districts with greater student poverty—were associated with smaller test-score gaps in high-poverty metropolitan areas. While this report cannot conclude that more progressive state aid directly reduces test-score gaps, this research suggests that progressive school-aid policies may help support more equal educational opportunities. #education #racialequity

Institute for Women’s Policy Research asks women about their concerns and priorities

February 21, 2021 – Families

A February 2021 survey conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research asked women to identify their top policy priorities on which Congress and the Biden Administration should focus. Across the 1,452 survey respondents, healthcare was the top policy priority. Rounding out the top five priorities are: the economic recession, unemployment, racial justice or inequality, and taxes. Stratifying policy priorities by respondent race and ethnicity showed that raising the minimum wage was also a significant concern among Black and Latina women. Making ends meet is a shared concern, as nearly half of all respondents—and two thirds of Latinas—were worried about their income being enough to pay for all family expenses. #covid-19 #workforce #economy #racialequity

LGBT adults—particularly those of color—faced greater health and economic impacts in fall 2020 than non-LGBT adults

February 21, 2021 – Families

Researchers at the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law investigated how LGBTQ+ adults were impacted by the fall 2020 COVID-19 surge. They used survey data collected between August and December 2020 by Ipsos’ weekly Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index (a representative and probability-based online panel of U.S. adults). The report shows important variation by sexual orientation/gender identity and race/ethnicity. For instance, while LGBT and non-LGBT white adults had similar COVID-19 test positivity rates, rates were higher among non-LGBT adults of color, and highest among adults identifying as both LGBT and a person of color. LGBT adults were more likely to report having been laid off, furloughed, having problems affording basic household goods, and having problems paying rent or mortgage than non-LGBT adults. While 5.4 percent of non-LGBT white people reported being recently laid off, rates were increasingly higher among LGBT white people (10.4 percent), non- LGBT people of color (11.5 percent) and LGBT people of color (15 percent). The authors recommend specific and intentional efforts among federal and pharmaceutical stakeholders to address the needs of LGBT people while addressing accumulated distrust. #covid-19 #racialequity #workforce

Two federal policy plans propose to better support families and reduce child poverty

February 17, 2021 – Families

Spotlight on Poverty has published an overview of the two major child poverty alleviation policy proposals currently under debate. Both proposals improve upon the existing child tax credit, which is effective but does not reach all families since it is restricted to those with annual incomes above $2,500. The current annual Child Tax Credit pays qualifying families $2,000 for each child under 17 years old. Senator Romney’s plan proposes to direct monthly cash payments to households with children—providing $350 for each child under 6 years old and $250 for each child age 6 to 18. However, the plan would be financed by consolidating or eliminating existing social assistance programs like TANF. The other plan is proposed by the Biden administration as part of the next pandemic relief package. This plan would enhance the current child tax credit by increasing credits to $3,600 per child under 6 and $3,000 for children over 6 years old. Spotlight also includes links to additional resources for more detail on each of the plans and policy analyses. #families

Income gaps in remote learning experiences persist into December

February 11, 2021 – General

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey comparing K-12 students’ access to technology over time. From spring 2020 (April 23 – May 5) to the end of the year (November 24 – December 7), they found that student access to computers had improved, while access to internet remained about the same. As schools and school districts were more likely to provide students digital devices than internet, these contributions help explain why computer access improved while internet access did not. However, access to both computers and internet were associated with income—students in lower income households had much less access to devices and internet than students in higher-income households. Students in lower-income households also had less live contact with their teachers than their higher-income peers. #covid-19 #education

More promising evidence for universal free school meals

February 11, 2021 – General

New research from Brookings uses administrative data from state departments of education to examine the effectiveness of free school meals for all students on school performance. With the uneven rollout of the Community Eligibility Provision between districts (whereby communities with high shares of free and reduced-price eligible students could eliminate applications and uniformly serve all students), the author was able to track changes in meal participation and student outcomes over time. She found that more students participate in school meals when meals are free, that free meals are linked with small improvements in math performance (greater increases among younger students and Hispanic students) and that schoolwide free meals are linked with lower numbers of suspensions among white male elementary students. #education #foodsecurity

Coordination and outreach spur Navajo Nation vaccine success

February 9, 2021 – Families

An article in the Albuquerque Journal highlights the early success of vaccination efforts in Navajo nation, where 98 percent of its allocated vaccines have been administered. The tribal government has utilized drive-through vaccination sites, social media posts and fliers informing Navajo residents where vaccines are available. Additional money available via a Major Disaster Declaration recently signed by President Biden will allow for more personnel and supplies to reach the reservation and continue the effort. The tribal government aims to administer 100,000 COVID-19 vaccines by the end of February and had already reached more than 77,000 by February 9. #covid-19 #racialequity

Municipalities will be reimbursed by the federal government for pandemic expenses

February 3, 2021 – Families

Municipalities have been hit hard by pandemic-related expenditures such as necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning supplies, medical equipment, increased operations costs, and other crucial services. Over the summer of 2020, cities and towns had been notified that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would not reimburse COVID-19-related purchases, creating significant budget concerns. For example, in New Hampshire, Manchester city officials report that pandemic-related expenses made by just the Manchester School District reach $11.3 million. The Biden Administration’s recent reversal to once again allow FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security to reimburse all emergency expenses comes as a massive relief for municipalities. Importantly, retroactive reimbursements will be allowed for pandemic-related purchases dating back as far as January 20, 2020. #covid-19 #economy

Local city ordinances require larger grocery chains to provide hazard pay to employees

February 2, 2021 – Families

The City Council of Los Angeles, California is backing a plan to require larger grocery stores to temporarily increase workers’ pay by $5/hour as hazard pay. Although at the beginning of the pandemic last spring many grocery retailers had offered some kind of hazard pay to employees, most of these bonuses ended months ago. Despite supporting hazard pay earlier in the pandemic, some larger grocery chains have opposed recent local hazard pay ordinances. For example, Kroger closed store locations in cities that have implemented ordinances such as in Long Beach, CA. Conversely, other stores like Trader Joes have been motivated by these local policies to implement their own national hazard pay increases. #covid-19 #workforce