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.


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

The American Rescue Plan Contains an Evidence-Based Policy Win for New Mothers

March 19, 2021 – General

Due to the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, many new mothers can worry less about the possibility of losing their health insurance coverage. The bill contains a much-anticipated provision giving states the option, to extend pregnancy-related Medicaid/Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage for a year following the end of pregnancy. Currently, such coverage expires just 60 days after delivery, placing many new mothers at risk of uninsurance during a particularly critical time for mother and baby. Extensive research evidence suggests this policy change could result in increased coverage and improved health care access and affordability among thousands of new mothers nationwide. According to Urban Institute research, if every state adopts this new provision, approximately 123,000 uninsured mothers could become newly eligible for Medicaid/CHIP coverage during their infant’s first year. #covid-19

$9.7 million awarded to support mental health and substance use programs in Maine

March 18, 2021 – General

U.S. Senators Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Health Committee, and Angus King announced Wednesday the Maine Department of Health and Human Services has been awarded a total of $9,772,660 to support mental health and substance use programs throughout the state. This funding, awarded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), was allocated through the December COVID-19 relief package. #covid-19 #mentalhealth #Maine

Racism and Discrimination Contribute to Housing Instability for Black Families During the Pandemic

March 18, 2021 – General

This brief is the third in a series examining timely topics that are relevant to Black families and children in the United States. It uses national, state, and local data to examine housing access and other available supports for Black families, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first brief provides a brief summary of recent data and historical context on family structure, employment and income, and geography for Black people with young children in the United States. The second brief sheds light on the role of federal policies in creating, maintaining, and addressing these structural inequities, with a specific focus on access to early care and education for Black families. #covid-19 #housing #racialequity

A $15 minimum wage would help millions of struggling households in small and mid-sized cities achieve self-sufficiency

March 17, 2021 – General

In a new report, Brookings argues that raising the wage floor can not only help reduce poverty, but it can also support individual and family self-sufficiency—the ability to cover living expenses without relying on public subsidies. They found that for a large share of the U.S. population, wages leave them short of self-sufficiency. As of 2019 (the latest data available), 37% of U.S. households—38 million overall—did not earn a pre-tax, pre-transfer wage that allowed them to make ends meet, including 14 million households with children. Owing to historical racial injustices and structural inequities, 47% of Black households and 50% of Latino or Hispanic households struggle to make ends meet. To understand more precisely how the minimum wage or other policies might alleviate these challenges, we estimate a “family-sustaining wage” threshold for each metro area that would help lift half of its struggling households into self-sufficiency. #workforce #racialequity

Charitable Food Use Increased Nearly 50 Percent from 2019 to 2020

March 16, 2021 – General

In this brief, Urban Institute uses data from the December 2020 round of the Urban Institute’s Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey (WBNS), a nationally representative survey of more than 7,500 adults ages 18 to 64, to examine charitable food use (defined as the use of free groceries or free meals) this past year compared with use in 2019 as well as how use of assistance in 2020 varies across demographic groups. Findings include adults’ reported household use of charitable food in the past 12 months grew almost 50 percent between December 2019 and December 2020 and adults who identify as Black or Hispanic/Latinx were almost three times more likely than white adults to report accessing charitable food during 2020. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #racialequity

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

Policy strategies to support and encourage older adults’ return to the workforce

March 12, 2021 – Seniors

Alongside pandemic-era job losses, workers have also left the labor force all together, including for safety concerns, inability to find work, insufficient child care, and other caregiving responsibilities. Adults age 65 or older represent a disproportionate share of those exiting the workforce, with more older adults leaving the labor force in 2020 than in any year since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking in 1948. Many older adults who remain in the labor force have struggled with unemployment, reflecting that it typically takes older workers longer to find new jobs. Experts at the Urban Institute propose some ways that policymakers can support and encourage older adults to return to the workforce, including by funding dedicated supports for older job hunters through American Job Centers. Another strategy—especially relevant during the pandemic—is making workplaces safer, including regulating and enforcing COVID-19 vaccination and preventative measures. Finally, authors suggest that federal laws preventing age discrimination in the workplace be strengthened. #covid-19 #workforce

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

New child tax credit could slash poverty now and boost social mobility later

March 11, 2021 – General

Under Biden's new child tax credit plan, low- and middle-income families with children will receive a yearly total of $3,000 per child aged 6 to 17 and $3,600 per child under 6. Looking at the supplemental poverty measure (SPM), this single provision is projected to reduce child poverty from nearly 14 percent to 7 and a half percent—a 45 percent reduction—according to researchers at Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy. The payments are projected to drastically cut child poverty across racial groups, but with particularly large reductions for Black, Hispanic, and Native American children. Similar reductions are expected for the number of children living in deep poverty. #poverty

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