Six Brunswick-based organizations were included in a $1 million dollar grant announced last week by the John T. Gorman Foundation.

The organizations included Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program, Tedford Housing, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine, Volunteers of America Northern New England and Growing to Give.

“Our goal is to help improve the lives of vulnerable Mainers,” said Gorman Foundation Program Associate Lauralee Raymond. “One of the ways we do that is through the direct services grant program, which is an annual program that provides grants to nonprofits working to help low-income Mainers.”

Raymond said that while the COVID-19 pandemic may be easing, the crisis is not over for struggling Maine people, and this grant ultimately aims to help Maine nonprofits deliver these basic needs to the community.

Through the grant, Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine, which provides sexual assault prevention and response services, received $25,000.

According to Executive Director Arian Clements, the grant will help fund two staff positions that directly work with sexual assault survivors as response advocates.

Clements said that some resources the organization offers, such as certain emergency services for human-trafficking survivors, have seen an uptick in demand since the start of COVID-19.

Brian Pearce, 52, a fisherman based in Portland, hauls a bucket of pollock in this undated photo. Pearce said a new program from the Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association will help fishermen like him who are struggling financially.

Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association received $24,600 and will use the money to continue funding the Fishermen Feeding Mainers program, which began in September in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program finances local fishermen, whose catches are cut and packaged through Maine businesses and distributed to hungry Mainers statewide. In March, the program surpassed 200,000 donated meals.

“The majority of these funds is going to be going straight into the programmatic work of Fishermen Feeding Mainers,” said Executive Director Ben Martens. “It’s going to be buying fish, it’s going to be processing fish and it’s going to be making donations into different community groups around our state.”

Tedford Housing, which operates two shelters in Brunswick for people experiencing homelessness, received $20,000. The nonprofit runs a six-bed adult shelter and a six-unit apartment-style family shelter.

The grant money will help fund Tedford’s case management services, which according to Executive Director Rota Knott, is a key element of Tedford Housing that helps connect clients with long-term stable housing, among other things.

“Realistically we are only as strong as the most vulnerable people in our community,” Knott added.

According to Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program Deputy Director Hannah Chatalbash the Gorman Foundation has been a supporter since 2012. This year the agency received $15,000, which will aid the food access organization’s general operating fund after their busiest year on record.

“The funding can be used in a flexible way based on whatever program has the biggest needs,” Chatalbash said.

Volunteers of America Northern New England, which operates a variety of statewide social services, received $14,500. The grant money will be used to help pay the salary of a community coordinator for a homeless veteran program in Togus, Maine.

“With this funding we’re able to keep the person on board,” said Vice President External Relations Michael Coon.

Finally, the Brunswick-based organization Growing to Give received $5,000. The farm grows vegetables using climate-friendly agriculture and donates to Mainers struggling with food insecurity.

Volunteer Director Patty Carton said that the money will aid the operating budget and some part time labor.

In total, the Portland-based Gorman Foundation awarded grants to 71 organizations reaching every county across the state of Maine.

According to Raymond, the 2021 grant saw a multiple hundred-thousand-dollar increase over previous years and received around 160 applicants.

John T. Gorman was the grandson of L.L. Bean. The foundation was established in 1995 to support underprivileged and disadvantaged Mainers.


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