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.

 

Health Affairs summarizes current landscape of philanthropy in long-term care services

March 21, 2021 – Families, Seniors

On their GrantWatch blog, Health Affairs published an overview of current philanthropy efforts in long-term care services, particularly to meet pandemic-era challenges and ongoing financing questions. Among recently-funded grants, the Tufts Health Plan Foundation is highlighted for awarding a large grant to Community Catalyst to engage older adults and family caregivers in the policy process and discussion of reforming the long-term services and supports (LTSS) system in Massachusetts. Newly published work is also featured, including a detailed report from PHI about the direct care workforce. A key recommendation in the PHI report is that both public and private sectors will need to invest significantly in improving direct care job quality and compensation in order to be able to recruit and retain sufficient workers for the growing service demand. Additionally, a new policy tool from AARP provides state scorecards measuring the performance of LTSS systems in each state. #covid-19 #workforce

Research characterizes new “risk divide” and class sentiments in the pandemic economy

March 21, 2021 – Families

In collaboration with the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality has produced a report sharing some results from the American Voices Project (AVP). The AVP is a national research project that employs both qualitative and quantitative methods to understand life in the United States. This piece specifically focuses the changing nature of work during the pandemic and the new “risk divide” between remote workers—with fewer health and economic risks—and face-to-face workers with much greater health and economic risks. Amidst these changes, authors explore class relations and class sentiments expressed in AVP interviews in April through August 2020. While the authors expected inter-worker conflict and resentment from face-to-face workers, findings did not align with this “class conflict” story. Instead, the researchers characterized face-to-face worker sentiments as primarily falling into one of three “gazes”—a compassionate “downward gaze” that acknowledges that others are also suffering, an “inward gaze” focused on self-protective strategies and fortitude, and an “outward gaze” based on a recognition that this crisis requires everyone to ban together. #covid-19 #workforce

20 years of data reveal little improvement in narrowing racial health disparities in rural places

March 15, 2021 – Families

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology examines diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and stroke mortality among rural and urban Black and white adults ages 25 and older. The study used de-identified data spanning 1999-2018 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The authors found mortality rates for these conditions were high among Black rural adults compared to white rural adults. For example, diabetes and hypertension mortality is 2 to 3 times higher among Black rural adults than among their white rural peers. Their analysis also found greater urban improvements in racial disparities and minimal progress in rural areas. These findings highlight the need for targeted public health efforts in rural areas that seek to better address the specific structural inequities that present barriers for Black rural residents. #health #rural #racialequity

New research links elementary school closures to reduced maternal labor force participation

March 12, 2021 – Families

An article published in Gender & Society finds that COVID-19-related school closures are associated with reduced maternal employment, concluding that schools are part of the nation’s critical care infrastructure. The authors collected operating status of schools (data not yet available publicly), linking this information to data on labor force participation from the current population survey. The authors find that in states with fully remote instruction, the gender labor force participation gap grew over the pandemic and stayed smaller in places where hybrid (like Maine) or in-person instruction was available. The authors conclude that states should continue to prioritize continuous in-person child care and schooling so parents, and especially mothers, can continue to engage in paid work. #covid-19 #education #childcare

How states can use new Pandemic Emergency Assistance funds to support low-income families

March 11, 2021 – Families

The American Rescue Plan Act designated $1 billion for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program through a Pandemic Emergency Assistance fund. States will have some flexibility on how they use Pandemic Emergency Assistance funds, as long as the funding is used for non-recurrent benefits for no more than four months. In particular, this means that states cannot use these funds for regular monthly TANF benefits. A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities policy expert details four ways that states could use these funds to support low-income families. Perhaps most straightforward, states could provide a one-time extra cash payment to TANF families. The other three strategies intend to reach families who are not currently connected to TANF, including a one-time cash payment to low-income SNAP households with children; a new worker-relief fund for short-term payments to replace lost income; or funds for families ineligible for other programs but experiencing crises like rental arrears. #covid-19 #foodsecurity

McKinsey & Company compiles potential near-term actions for rural communities

March 10, 2021 – Families

An article from McKinsey & Company highlights some near-term actions that rural communities with especially high shares of residents of color can use to manage the pandemic. While rural areas in general have been severely impacted by COVID-19, these racially and ethnically diverse rural counties are reporting death rates 1.6 times higher than other rural counties. In the short-term, rural communities will need to simultaneously treat current COVID-19 cases, reduce virus transmission, and meet mental health and social needs. The article includes potential research-informed actions that rural stakeholders can take in each of these three domains. #covid-19 #rural #racialequity #mentalhealth

New Hampshire police aim to better understand at-risk residents through voluntary information sharing program

March 10, 2021 – Families

The Concord Monitor describes a new program aimed at reducing challenges for law enforcement who interact with vulnerable residents. Rolled out in a few New Hampshire towns, the “Unique Needs Program” allows families to submit important information about at-risk loved ones to their local precinct, in case officers encounter them in the community. The public can submit the online form about family members with a chronic mental illness, a developmental disability, or memory loss, and include their physical description, emergency contact information, fears and phobias, particular behaviors, and/or favorite locations. When officers encounter a registered person or are dispatched to their address, they will be better informed and prepared to understand special circumstances. This effort comes alongside a new requirement for enhanced training on mental illness, special training on autism, and new crisis intervention specialty training. Disability advocates in the state suggest that while these efforts could reduce misunderstandings that result in tragic outcomes for people with disabilities, officers still need to seek out feedback and ideas from disabled people themselves to truly meet community needs. #covid-19 #rural #mentalhealth

Vaccine hesitance may still pose barrier in rural places

March 2, 2021 – Families

Research from the editor of The Daily Yonder uses a national Kaiser Family Foundation poll conducted in November and December 2020 to identify differences in willingness to get vaccinated by place type. The paper reports that 35 percent of rural residents said they “probably” or “definitely” would not get a COVID-19 vaccine if it was free, safe, and effective. This compares with just 26 and 27 percent of urban and suburban residents, respectively. This place-based difference persisted even after controlling for political party, age, and education. Rural residents were also most likely to agree that the seriousness of COVID-19 is exaggerated in the news: 50 percent agreed, compared with 27 of urban residents and 37 percent of suburban residents. However, the author also notes that vaccine attitudes are not static, and that overall willingness has improved since the last time the poll was conducted in September. #covid-19 #rural

Counties tackle transportation challenges for residents seeking vaccines

March 2, 2021 – Families

The National Association of Counties highlights the efforts some counties have undertaken to shift public transit resources to transporting residents to vaccination sites. Some counties have utilized rural transit dollars allocated via the CARES Act while other places are leveraging pandemic related reductions in public transit ridership to dedicate vehicles and drivers to the effort. Coordinators identify short turnarounds as the main barrier, so it is essential to ensure that residents know county transportation is available even before booking an appointment, so residents do not turn down vaccination opportunities for fear of not having a ride. #covid-19 #vaccination #rural

Charging low-income consumers exorbitant overdraft fees is big business for small banks

March 1, 2021 – Families

An op-ed by senior Brookings fellow Aaron Klein highlights the role of overdraft fees as a primary revenue source for some banks, arguing that regulators are failing their duties by allowing banks to rely on a fee levied only upon customers without money as a cornerstone of their business model. Klein also notes that the smallest banks are not even required to report on overdraft revenue, so reliance on overdraft revenue among those institutions is unknown. This point is especially alarming given earlier research from New America that finds that small banks implement more “punishing” fee structures in Black and Latinx communities than in white communities, regardless of socioeconomic characteristics and the presence of competing banks. #racialequity

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