A Birthday of Service

Carol Haag has been a volunteer, donor, and advocate for many local organizations over the years. For her 80th birthday, she asked her friends to give a day of service and join her in volunteering at these organizations. 

On July 11, Carol and a group of friends volunteered with Isles to work at the Tucker Street Garden. She has been a long-time donor to Isles but had never visited the organization itself.

“I was always impressed with the philosophy of Isles and the local impact of the organization,” noted Carol.  “But after visiting, I was totally blown away by the complexity and diversity in the ways Isles meets the needs of those in Trenton.” 

Thank you Carol and friends for your efforts to better the community!

Green Infrastructure

Though Isles’ environmental work has always extended far beyond the garden fence, we are excited to be part of a three-year green infrastructure project with partners Rutgers Water Resources and New Jersey Future utilizing funding from the federal Clean Water Act.

We are working with community and municipal partners to install demonstration projects that reduce stormwater runoff like street tree plantings, rain gardens, and rainwater collection systems. Two projects located at our Tucker Street facility include a 1500 gallon rainwater cistern and a 750 square foot rain garden. Together, they both limit the amount of water from the roof that enters the stormwater system and provide the bulk of the water needs for the nearby demonstration and educational garden.

We also hosted a rain barrel building workshop where people learned how to harvest rain water and built their own rain barrel to take home, and also worked with the NJ Tree Foundation to run a tree care workshop which included a tour of the community orchard at Tucker Street and a hands-on pruning demonstration.

See our calendar for upcoming workshops and events.

Isles: Explained

Can we describe Isles’ work in 100 seconds? We’ve created a simple illustrated video of our work to foster self-reliant families and healthy, sustainable community. Follow the story of Betty to learn more about the services Isles offers and how it impacts the community, and let us know what you think!

2019 Camp Carrot

Join us for a summer of discovery at gardens and parks in the city!

  • Explore the outdoors
  • Learn to grow your own food
  • Prepare tasty, healthy meals
  • Play games and get active
  • Learn through STEAM activities

Healthy lunch and snack included. Contact us for more details!

Who: Trenton students ages 9-12
When: August 5th-9th, 12th- 16th, 19th -23th 9:00 am- 4:00 pm
Where: Main location – Garden at 33 Tucker Street, Trenton NJ 08618
Contact: Christina at 609-341-4763, [email protected]

Camp Carrot Flyer Summer 2019 (English and Spanish)

Rise to 35: Our Common Unity

Update: Thanks to friends and supporters like you, we hit our campaign goal! Thank you!

For 35 years, Isles has been rising to the challenge of helping families become more self-reliant, and creating healthier communities in our region. We know that community challenges can be overcome by thoughtful, courageous people, working across the old boundaries of partisanship, ethnicity, religion, or zip code.  Isles channels the power of our common unity to help people build the lives they want for themselves.

It’s challenging work, and in this milestone year, your support is more important to us than ever. As political winds shift, Isles is focused on strengthening our services, and making sure that our community has the tools they need to rise to the challenges they face every day. We work together to keep our young adults out of the costly prison pipeline, save our youth from lead poisoning for life, train our workers to be financially stable, improve our health and budgets by supporting fresh food in the city, and the list goes on. Our common cause is our community.

Rise to the challenge with us. Starting today and ending on December 31st, Isles aims to raise $35,000 in online donations to fund the critical services we provide for families in our community. Your gift will help us continue the important work you can see highlighted in our 2016 Report.

All donations up to $10,000 will be matched by a generous donor who is committed to Isles’ mission. Double your impact today by donating online using the form below, and share the challenge with your friends on Facebook or Twitter. #Riseto35 #OurCommonUnity #Isles35th

Thank you for joining Isles in our mission to strengthen families and build healthy, sustainable communities.  Want your gift to have an even bigger impact?  Consider making a recurring gift and you’ll be helping people to help themselves all year long! Or find out how to make a gift of appreciated stock here.

We’re honored to be a part of the Dodge Foundation’s 2016 Give Back Guide! Check out Isles’ listing here.

Trenton Neighborhood Conditions Report Released

New Brunswick, NJ (October 28, 2015) – Today, a team of researchers and Trenton stakeholders released a comprehensive analysis of the conditions and trends in Trenton neighborhoods. Conducted in partnership with the City of Trenton and the city’s civic leadership, the study promises to become a key guide for revitalization strategies in Trenton for many years to come.

The report, entitled Laying the Foundation for Strong Neighborhoods in Trenton, NJ, is the product of a collaboration by a team that includes New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC), the Center for Community Progress (CCP), Isles, Inc., and the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University. The study is an important follow up to a 2014 citywide inventory of vacant property conducted on behalf of the Trenton Neighborhood Restoration Campaign by Isles, Inc.

The report is available here, and will be linked to www.restoringtrenton.org, a web site that makes citywide property and neighborhood data available to community residents, city government, nonprofit organizations and other stakeholders. The data underlying the report, as well as detailed neighborhood summaries, will be accessible on www.restoringtrenton.org.

“We’ve been excited to participate in this project,” said Eric Jackson, Mayor of Trenton. “We’re a city of diverse neighborhoods, each with its own opportunities and challenges. This is the first time we’ve had this kind of data to help us design the best strategies for each part of our city.”

The study team looked at eight indicators of neighborhood condition in each of Trenton’s 55 neighborhoods and subareas. These indicators include vacant properties, homeownership rate, median sales price, percentage of home sales to investors, mortgage foreclosure filings, tax delinquency, percentage of tax liens bought by investors, and violent crime.

By comparing individual indicators, as well as the total picture, the analysis brings vividly to light the key strengths and challenges of each of the city’s neighborhoods, and the variation between them. According to Alan Mallach, principal author of the report, “For a small city, Trenton has a lot of different neighborhoods, and each one has different needs and opportunities. If the city is going to make the most of its assets, it has to make its strategies fit the particular conditions of each neighborhood.”

The report examines both current conditions and recent trends in Trenton and its neighborhoods, and lays out potential strategic options available to city government and other stakeholders to address the challenges facing the city, focusing in particular on strategies to deal with vacant properties, improve rental housing, and stabilize homeownership. “This report and the database can serve a variety of functions,” said Diane Sterner, Community Strategies Advisor for NJCC. “We look forward to working with the city, its organizations and its residents to help plan strategies and initiatives, target resources, and evaluate ongoing revitalization efforts.”

Laying the Foundation for Strong Neighborhoods in Trenton was made possible by grants from the Princeton Area Community Foundation (PACF), the Garfield Foundation, and Thomas Edison State College.

About the Partners

New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC)
NJCC is a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) that transforms at-risk communities through strategic investments of capital and knowledge. NJCC invests in affordable housing, community facilities, and economic development ventures that strengthen neighborhoods, improve education, and increase jobs, ultimately providing greater opportunities for low-income populations. Since inception, NJCC has facilitated the investment of over $500 million into 800 high-impact projects across the state, supporting the creation and preservation of 12,900 education seats, 8,200 housing units, 6,100 early care slots, and 6,100 jobs. For more information, please visit www.newjerseycommunitycapital.org.

Center for Community Progress
Founded in 2010, the Center for Community Progress is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that communities have the vision, knowledge, and systems to transform blighted, vacant, and other problem properties into assets supporting neighborhood vitality. The Center serves as the leading national resource for local, state and federal policies and best practices that address the full cycle of property revitalization, including blight prevention through the acquisition and maintenance of problem properties and their productive reuse.  For more information, please visit www.communityprogress.net.

Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies
The Cornwall Center encourages and conducts relevant research and hosts learning opportunities all aimed at improving the cultural, social and economic development of the community, city and region in which the Center resides. The Center’s mission is to research and analyze complex issues facing urban areas, primarily metropolitan Newark and northern New Jersey, and to ultimately generate solutions to those challenges.

Isles, Inc.
Founded in 1981, Isles, Inc. is a community development and environmental organization in Trenton, New Jersey. With a mission to foster self-reliant families and healthy, sustainable communities, Isles designs and develops effective services that support this mission and share what they learn with others who can make a difference.  Beyond its central New Jersey base, Isles works to influence policy and practices that support healthy, self-help agendas. For more information, visit www.isles.org. 

Give for Youth Challenge: Voting is Open

Isles has entered a microproject in the Give for Youth Challenge and we need your vote! The top 20 youth-focused nonprofits with the most votes win a spot on GiveforYouth.org, a microgiving portal that helps nonprofits get new projects funded and off the ground. Give for Youth is a Microsoft YouthSpark program in partnership with GlobalGiving. Our project focuses on Isles YouthBuild Institute, which provides the tools for self-reliance in a non-traditional educational environment and better prepares at-risk youth for employment and higher education. Voting is open until March 1st!

Visit our project page here and click “Vote for this Idea” to vote for us! After you vote, leave a comment in the discussion section at the bottom of the project page to help get the word out!

If you need to register, please remember to validate your email address (you’ll receive instructions after you vote) so your vote gets counted. You’ll see a notification at the top of the screen once your vote has been successfully counted. Remember, everyone can only vote once, so be sure to also let your friends know and spread the word! 

Please take a second to help us out with your vote, and if you’re feeling extra helpful, share this message with your friends and post it on Facebook! You can also share this announcement by clicking on the social media buttons at the bottom of this page. Thank you for supporting this important work – We need all the votes we can get!