Trenton, N.J. – Isles, Inc., a community development and environmental nonprofit headquartered in Mercer County NJ, is hosting its first-ever virtual Forum from June 7 – 12, 2021. This free, one-of-a-kind event explores community development topics such as urban agriculture, lead safety, youth-violence prevention, healthy housing, and green jobs in a series of webinars, panels, and workshops.
The Forum is free and open to the public as part of Isles’ 40 Years of Impact Celebration, acknowledging the learning, sharing, and innovation that has been core to Isles’ approach since its founding in 1981.
“Over four decades, we’ve tested different approaches to family self-reliance and healthy communities, learning what works, trying new things, and sharing with others,” says Isles’ Chief Executive Officer Sean Jackson. “This Forum is a way we can bring together folks from around the country to tackle a range of topics critical to fostering healthy, sustainable communities.”
The innovative event includes five themed days with 18 sessions that feature Isles staff, guests, and topic experts. Isles’ Founder Marty Johnson kicks off the Forum on Monday, June 7th with the session, “Climate Change, Environmental Hazards, and the City: What’s an Organization to Do?”, which explores the environment and critical urban issues. During Tuesday’s “Urban Placemaking” sessions, CEO Sean Jackson will highlight the Social Profit Center at Mill One.
“The Social Profit Center, which opened earlier this year, is building a collaborative environment where nonprofits and social impact groups can work together and learn from each other regularly,” says Sean Jackson. “This Forum is the embodiment of that spirit, and displays the type of programming we want to offer in the Center once we can safely gather together again.”
On Thursday, Isles’ Chief Operating Officer John Hart and others will lead a session titled, “Challenges and Lessons in Developing Anti-Racist Organizations,” which explores Isles’ journey to becoming an actively antiracism organization and the challenges agencies and people face in addressing biases and eliminating racism when in their lives and service delivery.
“As Isles and other nonprofits grappled with how to respond to the anti-racism protests of last summer, we recognized that a lot of work needed to be done both as individuals and as an agency,” says COO John Hart. “This Forum gives us an opportunity to have this important discussion and we’re grateful to the partners and sponsors who are making it possible.”
Current sponsors include Urban Placemaking Sponsor NJM Insurance Group, and Session Sponsors First Bank, Capital Health, Cathy Rizzi of Fox and Roach Realtors, Princeton Allergy and Asthma Associates, Rowe Carpentry, Withum, the Bank of Princeton and Santander. Interested in sponsoring a session of the Forum? Please contact Development Director Patricia Walker at 609.341.4732 or [email protected].
To view the complete forum schedule and to read descriptions of each individual session visit https://isles.org/forum. The website is updated regularly with additional panelist information.
Founded in 1981, Isles, Inc. is a community development and environmental organization designed to foster self-reliant families and healthy, sustainable communities. Isles revitalizes communities, builds wealth, educates and trains, and creates healthy homes and spaces. Beyond its central New Jersey base, Isles works to influence policy and helps others build healthy, self-help approaches.
Through an array of self-help services, Isles has empowered more than 1,000 students to receive educational opportunities and job training, 600 families to purchase homes and receive coaching for financial sustainability, and hundreds of gardeners to participate in urban agriculture across in the city. In addition, 500 homes were built or renovated through community revitalization, an additional 3,000 homes have been tested for lead, and more than 350 have been rehabbed to be lead-safe and energy efficient. This work in Trenton to convert dangerous, inefficient older homes into high-performing safe places for kids and adults, is expanding to other parts of New Jersey.