CEO Column

Fall 2016

As we head into the fall and into the depths of the election season (yikes!), I’m pleased to share this IslesWorks newsletter with you.   We’re honored to be one of 77 organizations nationwide to recently receive a US Dept of Labor YouthBuild grant. Isles Youth Institute’s 21st class of students started this fall, giving us …

Building a Culture of Health is a Life or Death Matter in Trenton

It’s a quick drive up the Route 1 corridor from Trenton to Princeton, but when it comes to life-expectancy rates, the two communities are worlds apart. People born and residing around the Princeton Junction train station can expect to see their 87th birthday, while children about 10 miles away, just south of the Trenton Train …

Summer 2016

Dear Friends, Should your zip code dictate your life expectancy? A recent study and map, created by Virginia Commonwealth University and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, exposes dramatic disparities even within the same county, like in NJ’s Mercer County. Life expectancy in Trenton’s 08619 area code is 73 years whereas 8 miles up the road in …

Spring 2016

Dear Friends, This past week, Isles turned 35. For me, it’s been a labor of love, allowing us to continually ask – and answer – one basic question, “What are the most powerful, low cost ways to develop self-reliant families and healthy, sustainable communities?” As you can see, we’ve settled on four key ways to …

September Update

Dear Friends, The best kept secret to education is… someone  chooses to learn. At Isles Youth Institute, a new crop of 70 young people, mostly 17-20 year olds who have struggled in and dropped out of typical classroom settings, begin their education anew this week. To make sure they are ready, Isles created a Mental …

August Update

Dear Friends, The research is increasingly clear, but it’s not news to us: a green, more natural environment affects our physical and mental health and the health of our communities. This is particularly true in cities. Over the decades, Isles has partnered with communities to create green, safe spaces – parks, gardens and buildings – that …

A Tribute to Pat Donohue

You can tell a lot about a guy by playing basketball with him. It was many years ago, but I really met Pat Donohue on a hoops court. He was fearless. With his small, 5’7” frame, he would take it right at the big guys underneath. He wasn’t just courageous – he was also talented. From the first game, …

June 2015 CEO Corner

On June 23rd, we celebrate the 20th Isles Youth Institute graduation! I fondly remember the decision, just over 21 years ago, to create Isles’ YouthBuild, where disconnected 16-24 year olds can grow, learn construction skills, earn a high school degree and renovate homes in the city.  Over 1,000 students have benefited from IYI. From the beginning, we …

May 2015 CEO Corner

May is almost over and it’s tempting to highlight the 60+ gardens, real estate construction, the busy-ness of the season, etc.  However, doing good work is important, and as we say around here, the “magic” is in the learning (and increasingly in the teaching). As we learn by doing, we then must share that with …

March 2015 CEO Corner

On April 11th, Isles turns 34. Over those years, we’ve steadily built the capacity to foster sustainable development across the region. But of course, we can’t – and would never try – to do it alone. As our name suggests, Isles provides a range of help to local community-based groups (or “isles”). They are the glue …