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.


Around 60 percent of U.S. households with children report serious financial problems, job or wage losses during the pandemic

September 30, 2020 – Families

The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health partnered with National Public Radio (NPR) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to poll U.S. households with children regarding the impact of the pandemic (conducted July 1 – August 3, 2020). They found that 61 percent of households with children report facing serious financial problems. Higher shares of Latinx and Black households with children reported serious financial problems (86 percent and 66 percent, respectively) as compared to white households with children (51 percent). Of all U.S. households with children, 60 percent have had at least one household member lose their job or had hours/wages reduced during the pandemic. #covid-19 #racialequity

COVID-19 environment has increased stress for pregnant people and new parents

September 23, 2020 – Families

The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the stress and challenges facing people during pregnancy. Not only has the pandemic environment changed the hospital experience, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also identified pregnant people have as a population vulnerable to COVID-19. In the event of contracting the virus, pregnant people are more likely to require hospitalization and ventilation and are at an increased risk of preterm birth. Although further research is still needed, it is quite rare that a COVID-19- positive pregnant person can pass the virus to their fetus or newborn. It seems that one of the biggest current health threats is prenatal stress. An ongoing study of 500 pregnant Oregon women has found high levels of significant stress, anxiety, and depression among participants. Authors note prenatal stress can be reduced through social support networks, relaxation and mindfulness techniques, access to paid parental leave, and ensuring basic needs are met. #covid-19 #mentalhealth

Policies and investments to support child care options for families with young children

September 22, 2020 – Families

The University of Oregon has been conducting a national survey—called the Rapid Assessment of Pandemic Impact on Development (RAPID)-Early Childhood Survey—regarding the well-being of families with young children during the pandemic. Survey data collected from mid-May to early June show significant changes in the types of child care utilized by families before and during the pandemic. In particular, the share of families with young children using center-based care fell from 46 percent before the pandemic to just 7 percent at the time of survey completion (during the pandemic). Conversely, the share of parents/guardians performing child care duties increased from around 30 percent to over 70 percent by the summer. Urban Institute researchers on the project note that home-based care programs are gaining interest but need support. Authors propose policy options for supporting families’ access to child care including helping families pay for care (such as through the Child Care and Development Fund system), ensuring child care subsidies can apply to a range of child care settings (especially included home-based care), and investing in child care options across settings. #covid-19 #childcare

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

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

Economic analysis finds that the 1967 expansion of minimum wage reduced racial earnings and income disparities

September 14, 2020 – Families

An article in The Quarterly Journal of Economics finds that the expansion of the federal minimum wage in 1967 was critical in reducing the earnings gap and income gap between Black and white workers. Authors document that over the last 70 years there is only one period of time when the earnings gap between white and Black Americans decreased significantly—from the late 1960s to the early 1970s. Authors explore the impacts of the 1967 extension of minimum wage to previously excluded industries using historical state and national data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the March Current Population Survey (CPS), and the Census Bureau. Their analyses found that the minimum wage expansion is responsible for about 20 percent of the reduction in the racial earnings gap seen during that period. These findings suggest that minimum wage policy may be an important avenue for reducing racial economic disparities. #racialequity

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

Racial-ethnic gaps in self-rated health among rural residents

September 10, 2020 – Families

A new article published in the Journal of Community Health explores differences in self-rated health among rural residents by race and ethnicity. Using data from the 2011-2017 National Health Interview Survey, the researchers examined self-reported health by race/ethnicity and other socio-demographic characteristics such as educational attainment and marital status. Black and American Indian (Indigenous) rural residents were found to report significantly worse health than white counterparts. That is, 25.8 percent of Black rural residents and 20.8 percent of American Indian rural residents reported having fair or poor health, compared to only 14.8 percent of white rural residents. These findings highlight the importance of recognizing that rural spaces are not exempt from health disparities that stem from structural racism. #racialequity #rural