About Us
 advances and invests in innovative ideas and opportunities that improve the lives of Maine's most vulnerable people. We focus on four key areas: Improving educational achievement for children, promoting successful transitions to adulthood for vulnerable older youth, helping struggling families succeed and enabling seniors to remain in their homes as long as possible.
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Foundation Staffer Presents to Federal 
Administration for Children and Families 
Nicole Witherbee 
Chief Program Officer

On July 27 , Chief Program Officer Nicole Witherbee presented at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families Regional Administrators Retreat, which was held in Washington, D.C. Along with a representative from the Kresge Foundation, Nicole was invited to discuss the role of public-private partnerships in improving outcomes for children and their families, especially in the context of promoting two-generation strategies. 
New Resource on Head Start and Early Head Start in Maine

Maine's Head Start and Early Head Start programs are the focus of a new report from the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire, which was supported by a grant from the John T. Gorman Foundation. The publication takes a comprehensive look at all sixteen Head Start and Early Head Start sites across the state, and includes information about demographics, funding streams, staffing, and family services provided. For the full report, please see the following link .
Foundation-Funded Report Receives National Award

Unsealed Fate: The Unintended Consequences of Inadequate Safeguarding of Juvenile Records in Maine, was recently recognized with the 2017 Douglas Yearwood National Publication Award from the Justice Research and Statistics Association. The Foundation was proud to support this publication from the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. For more on the report, please see this article from the Winter 2017 edition of our newsletter

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Note from the President and CEO

The staff and partners of the John T. Gorman Foundation have kept busy this summer, as you'll see from this edition of our quarterly newsletter. At the end of June, we announced the organizations who are receiving our 2017 Direct Services Grants, and in this issue, we'll tell you more about the program and the 48 dedicated grantees that are carrying out important work throughout the state of Maine. We also bring you an update on the Gateway to Opportunity program, a best practice Portland-based summer youth employment initiative which has grown substantially from its pilot year in 2016.

The second cohort of the John T. Gorman Fellows has been hard at work since March, and in this newsletter we check in on the progress of this rigorous results-based leadership program. Another article describes our developing partnership with the Island Institute, which is designed to strengthen the economy of Maine's rural coastal and island communities. 
We're also pleased to share a new report about Head Start and Early Head Start in Maine, which was produced by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire and which we hope will serve as a helpful resource for those who are interested in the state of this important early childhood program. Finally, we offer our congratulations to the authors of the publication   Unsealed Fate: The Unintended Consequences of Inadequate Safeguarding of Juvenile Records in Maine , which was funded by the Foundation and which recently received a national award. 
Have a wonderful rest of the summer. As always, I invite you to write me or any of our staff with any questions, comments or suggestions you have about the Foundation's work. 

- Tony Cipollone, President and CEO

Foundation Announces 2017 Direct Services Grant Program Recipients

Photo by Patrisha McLean courtesy of Knox County Homeless Coalition, one of our 2017 Direct Services Grant Program recipients.
In June, the John T. Gorman Foundation awarded grants totaling $800,000 to 48 organizations through our annual Direct Services Grants Program. These hardworking nonprofits deliver critical services throughout the state of Maine. For the full list of the organizations receiving funding through the 2017 Direct Services Grants Program, please see our website.

Our founder, John T. (Tom) Gorman cared deeply about those who were economically less fortunate. In recognition of his concern, as well as the ongoing pressures faced by many throughout the state, the Foundation annually awards grants to nonprofits who help Maine's most vulnerable people meet their basic needs. In 2017, 34 of the grants we awarded were in this category, and include organizations that provide important services like fighting food insecurity, providing basic medical care to the uninsured, and assisting those experiencing homelessness.

Additionally, the Direct Services Grants Program reflects Tom Gorman's strong commitment to assisting Mainers with mental health needs, as well as those battling cancer. This year's grantees included six organizations who provide mental health services and eight who work with patients with cancer diagnoses and their families. 

Second Summer for Gateway to Opportunity

A G2O participant at the Avesta program site.

For economically disadvantaged teens in Maine, a good summer job has the potential to be truly life-changing. That's because researchers have linked learning-rich summer work experiences to positive outcomes for vulnerable young people, such as increased school attendance, better test scores and stronger work readiness skills.

In recognition of this evidence, in 2016 the John T. Gorman Foundation and the Maine Economic Improvement Fund (MEIF) supported the launch of Gateway to Opportunity (G2O), a Portland-based summer youth employment initiative that was designed to offer just this kind of work experience to income-eligible high school students. Twenty-two young people participated in the pilot year, which was such a success that the Foundation and MEIF committed to supporting the program once again this summer. We were joined by several other funders who also saw the value of G2O and invested in the program. 

Forty-plus youth, over twice as many as last year, participated in the 2017 session of Gateway to Opportunity. These youth, primarily rising juniors and seniors, worked at eight different host sites across the city. Once again, the program delivery partners were Goodwill Northern New England and USM's Muskie School of Public Service. This year, the employer-partners included Avesta Housing, Maine Public, Greater Portland Council of Governments, Boys and Girls Club Portland, East End Community School, The Opportunity Alliance, the Youth Leadership Advisory Team (a joint project of young people, the Muskie School, and the Maine Department of Health and Human Services), and the Portland Housing Authority. The teens worked on projects that ranged from a summer literacy program for young children to a study of a brownfield plot that relies on STEM skills and conceptualizing future use of the space. Four of the young people in this year's session returned from last summer to continue to serve in their community.

John T. Gorman Fellows Continue to Apply Results-Based Thinking

John T. Gorman Fellows Stephanie LeBlanc, Eliza Townsend, and 
Cat Hamel  (l to r) at the August 2017 Fellowship Seminar. 
The 12 fellows in the second cohort of the John T. Gorman Fellowship are now just over the halfway point of their work together. The biannual Fellowship, which the Foundation launched in 2015, is designed to help these nonprofit and public sector leaders from across the state become more results-focused and build the vision, confidence and competence required to advance change and improve the lives of vulnerable people throughout the state. To learn more about the background and current roles of the Fellows in this cohort, as well as those in the inaugural Fellowship, please visit the Fellowship section of our website.

At the core of the Fellowship's curriculum are six two-day seminars, which are based upon a framework that emphasizes the use of data to identify and improve results for people in Maine. Four of these sessions have now been held, on topics that range from working collaboratively to develop aligned strategies to using communications as a vehicle to advance shared results.  In addition, Fellowship seminars are designed to expose participants to national and local experts who are engaged in innovative work.  Outside of the Fellowship's seminars, participants in the program must stay on track with their goal of making a measurable difference in the lives of Maine people. They accomplish this through a combination of group meetings, consultations with Foundation staff and Fellowship faculty, and their application of new concepts and skills learned in the seminars. The Fellows are also tasked with leading their home organizations through the process of becoming more results-based in their orientation and mission. 

The energy and commitment that the Fellows have brought to the table has been impressive. "We know that this isn't easy work -- it requires serious dedication and a considerable amount of time," says Tony Cipollone, President and CEO of the John T. Gorman Foundation. "But we believe that the payoff is worth it for the potential impact that these leaders can have on Maine's future."

Island Institute Galvanizes Rural Coastal Economy

For Maine's rural island and coastal communities, fishing -- especially lobstering -- has been a way of life for as long as most can remember. But the shifting economy and the changing coastal ecosystem mean that the outlook for the industry is uncertain. As a result, many residents are seeking ways to stay on the water and support their families in more reliable ways.   

The Island Institute, whose mission is to sustain Maine's island and coastal communities through economic development and other services, has stepped up to help those making a living through fishing expand their skills. In 2016, the John T. Gorman Foundation provided the Island Institute with a three-year grant to support the organization's small business support services. The Foundation made the investment in recognition of the strong need for a more diverse economy to safeguard the region's future. "The island and coastal communities of Maine are vital to the state's culture and economy. Our hope is that this partnership with the Island Institute will create footholds into new business opportunities for these communities and keep them vibrant in the long term," says Nicole Witherbee, Chief Program Officer at the Foundation.

The grant helped the Island Institute start the   Island and Coastal Business Launchpad program ,  which offers existing and would-be entrepreneurs in the region the targeted business support services they need to be successful in the new economy. The program has just wrapped up its first year, and has already provided more than 200 clients with assistance on everything from social media to accounting. Twenty-five small businesses have also opened thanks in part to the coaching services and workshops offered by the Launchpad program. The Island Institute accomplished this by leveraging existing federal, state and local resources, linking the program participants to the widest possible network of assistance.