January 2015

islesWorks in January


Board of Trustees


Michele Minter 

Linda Revelle

Katherine Fitzpatrick

Nora Brennan

Barbara Coe

Rachel Cogsville-Lattimer

Stuart Essig

Ian Goldstein

Robert Harris

Sean Jackson

Oye Olukotun

Sa Mut Scott

Thomas Sullivan

Tracey Syphax

Calvin Thomas

Rolando Torres



Thanks for your

service to Isles!


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As we head into the new year, we take stock of the accomplishments of the past year...but not for long. We expect 2015 to be even more transformational.


Part of that change includes new leaders at the Isles board level.  We are grateful to Dr. Ann Marie Senior, who chaired Isles' board in 2014. Her term limits are up and we welcome Michele Minter to the role of Chair. Michele has served 2 years on the Isles' board and as you can tell from the article below, she is the right leader at the right time.


Other new board members include Rolando Torres, Tracey Syphax, Rachel Cogsville-Lattimer, Ian Goldstein, Tom Sullivan, and Kathy Fitzpatrick. This is a diverse and strong class of new trustees!


As you know, we care most about family self-reliance. As a result, Isles Financial Solutions (IFS) helps families become more financially healthy and build wealth. The IFS article below shows how we do that for nonprofit and for profit employees, employers, and clients. Princeton University, restaurant chains, Womanspace, and others are getting results. If you are interested for your business, let us know.


Stay tuned for exciting announcements in the months ahead. 


Thank you for your interest and support.


In community,


Marty Johnson


P.S. Let us know what you think about our work!


Meet the 2015 Board Chair: Michele Minter



Michele Minter has been an Isles trustee, including board vice chair, since 2012. This month, she assumes the role of Isles' Board Chair. Michele is vice provost for institutional equity and diversity at Princeton University, where she  oversees Princeton's diversity, inclusion, and educational access initiatives. She also serves as the chief compliance officer for Affirmative Action, Title IX, and the American with Disabilities Act.  Before Princeton, Michele was  vice president for development at the College Board and she was director of development and campaign director at Princeton University.  She brings years of philanthropic and board experience having served on the boards of the Princeton Area Community Foundation, the Women's Philanthropy Institute, Princeton Library Foundation, and others.


Michele was introduced to Isles many years ago when she and her husband, Jeff Yuan, took their children on a tour of the Isles-supported community gardens. She says, "It was an honor to be the guest of the community gardeners and see the beautiful spaces that they were creating -- and sample their fresh produce! At the same time, it was clear that many of the neighborhoods around those gardens needed and deserved more resources and partners. We liked Isles' combination of vision and humility in grounding itself deeply in Trenton and the environs and giving citizens the tools to take control over their own well-being.


Michele's passion for Trenton and the region stems from her family's long-term commitment to central New Jersey and to social justice. "As a matter of justice, none of us can thrive here if everyone doesn't have the opportunity to thrive.  Isles understands that building self-reliant people and communities means engaging in multiple ways and on multiple levels -- around education, health, advocacy, jobs, and community partnerships. Isles does that work efficiently and with high return on investment. Serving on the board has been a wonderful opportunity to learn from some of the smartest, most committed people around -- Marty Johnson and his staff. Their knowledge and commitment are extraordinary."



Isles Financial Solutions

Isles Financial Solutions (IFS) continues to provide one-on-one financial coaching services to over 250 staff at one of our area's largest employers, Princeton University. Services include financial goal setting, budget creation, debt management, and home-buyer assistance. IFS plans to provide additional group workshops for University staff in 2015. According to Patricia Berhau, Isles' Asset Building Coordinator, "We've found that having a presence on campus and having people see us and hear from us periodically is important. For some, it's a matter of building trust. For others it's a case of needing to see us two or three times before they're ready to take the plunge and do something about their financial situation."


Isles also collaborates with regional nonprofits to provides financial services. Womanspace, Inc. is a leading nonprofit agency in Mercer County, providing a comprehensive array of services to individuals and families impacted by domestic and sexual violence. According to Womanspace client advocate, Kaila Most Clark, "Our collaboration with Isles has been crucial in helping clients achieve their financial goals despite the negative experiences they have had in the past. The financial specialists at Isles are sensitive to the unique needs of our clients. They also have access to products that are exclusive to Isles, including their Kickstart Savings program and emergency loans. Without access to emergency loans, one of our clients would not have been able to afford her car. Other clients have utilized the Kickstart Savings program to increase their credit scores as well as save money for security deposits. The savings program has made it easier for clients to be financially ready for their own apartments when they graduate our program. Having support from another agency while clients are transitioning is so important to families we serve, and it is invaluable that Isles is able to collaborate with us and be that additional community support."


This year, IFS is beginning to work with a number of additional local employers including a restaurant group and two Trenton-based non-profits. If you are an employer with low- and moderate-income employees or know of one whose staff would benefit from this service, please contact Patricia at (609) 341-4778 or [email protected].



Isles in the News

Learn more about Isles on Driving Jersey by clicking the video below.

Driving Jersey


10 Wood Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08618