The news from Washington, D.C. is unsettling for us too. Since we created Isles 36 years ago in the early days of the Reagan administration, we’ve weathered lots of changing political and economic winds. Still, some of you have asked, “how do today’s changes affect Isles and the places where we work?”
First, we’ve tried to minimize our reliance on public funding over the years by diversifying our funding sources. Today, about 25% of Isles’ work still relies on federal government sources, including departments of Labor, HUD, and the EPA.
Those sources fund the clean up of homes that saves kids and seniors from permanent lead poisoning. Their grants enable drop-outs to step back in through education and job training, and they support residents who reclaim and restore tough neighborhoods. (They are worth the investment. I live here, I know.)
These funds (along with the other 75% of our funding) support our mission to foster family self-reliance and healthy communities. They enable us to invest in and impact people and places too often outside the economic mainstream.
Second, if those investments don’t happen, we know this: the costs to society and to taxpayers grow a lot! More people will be sick, failing in school, part of the costly prison pipeline, and so on. That is very expensive. As a result, Isles’ work transcends right and left partisan thinking.
The federal impact on Isles and the community we serve is real, and we won’t know more until the ink dries later this spring on the Federal Budget. Until then, please know that we are committed to transparency and keeping you updated on impacts to our work.
More than ever, Isles stands as an anchor institution that helps neighbors and places persevere through uncertain times. We will rise above the stultifying pressures of the moment we are in and continue to serve, just as we’ve done for 36 years.
And that’s where you come in. Help us find ways forward by engaging and investing with us. Visit our work, tour our gardens, mentor or tutor our IYI students, or volunteer some time.
Your support keeps us optimistic and moving forward. Indeed, it makes Isles possible.
Thank you for being there.