February 2015

islesWorks in February

Board of Trustees


Michele Minter 

Linda Revelle

Kathleen 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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Here in New Jersey, it's been cold. Take a moment to imagine those who live in substandard housing. Thousands of friends and neighbors live in leaky, drafty homes that are expensive to heat! For years, Isles has worked to develop low-cost ways to retrofit homes for energy efficiency, while also remediating the lead poisoning and asthma triggers at the same time.


Finally, we are poised to help others learn these techniques across the state. Working with PSEG and other partners, this work requires keen attention to details. This is where Isles' Peter Rose excels.


As Managing Director of Isles Community Enterprises, Peter has been with Isles since 2006. We are lucky to have talent like this at Isles. 



In community,


Marty Johnson




Meet Peter Rose, Managing Director 

of Isles Community Enterprises



In the summer of 2006, Peter Rose was working with MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates), seeding microbusiness development services in small and mid-size cities.  Having targeted Trenton as an area to help low and moderate income people start self-employment businesses, he set up a meeting with Marty Johnson. He left Trenton that day not only getting Marty to agree to start a microbusiness project, but also with a job offer. "I was there to sell Marty on microbusiness, but during the meeting I got caught up in the vision of developing self-reliance services in Trenton," says Peter.  "I honestly got enrolled in what was possible in a community like Trenton -- to add services that could really make a difference.  I came because of Marty, but I stayed because of what's possible here."


Rose had come from Seattle a few years earlier, having founded an award-winning microbusiness development nonprofit, Washington CASH. (Washington CASH will celebrate its 20th year anniversary in April). "Although we had huge success helping low-income women and people with disabilities start businesses, we were also tinkering with other ways to support our customers to accelerate asset development. We had helped Seattle start an IDA (Individual Development Account) program with 13 other nonprofits, but I was looking for the 'next big thing' in asset building. Although we haven't found 'it,' we have developed several new services that we think create an exceptional level of asset creation or preservation."


Since coming to Isles, Peter has been instrumental in nurturing many new services at Isles, including Build Your Own Business (microbusiness training and lending), Isles Financial Solutions (financial capability), Isles E4 (weatherization), and the combined energy and healthy homes work. "At Isles, I have the leeway to experiment and try to create innovative services. I also have the kind of creative staff that can take an idea and make magic." So what's next on the drawing board? "Stay tuned. We've got a few new ideas up our sleeves. We're not done yet."

It's the Whole House


"The work that you have done is truly a blessing and words cannot express the sincere gratitude I would like to convey...Isles helped me save over 50% on heating costs in my home." - B. Thompson


More than any other Isles service, we receive 'thank you' letters for our work to retrofit old, tired, leaky homes in the Trenton region.


Thousands of units in Trenton alone are substandard, energy-wasteful, and hazardous to live in, because of lead and other toxins. These combined challenges make homes complicated to repair, and many families lack the resources to do it right. Isles helps these struggling homeowners weatherize, repair, and remove environmental hazards in their homes. 


Many older houses have leaking roofs. Too often, residents place a pot on the floor to collect the drips until the storm passes. Over time, these leaks create mold and peeling paint (which often contains lead), and cause sheetrock to sag and fall. A deteriorating home is unhealthy, uncomfortable, and dangerous. Children suffer most from indoor environmental hazards like lead dust, dust mites, rodents, cockroaches, asthma-triggering mold, and toxic pesticides. These hazards, especially lead, can impact a child's IQ, behavior, and success in life. 


In time, these homes may join the list of over 3,000 units of vacant housing in Trenton today. 


Isles pioneered the process of testing and repairing occupied homes for energy and, health hazards. We then renovate the home, using local labor in one single coordinated system. The result is that homes that were passed over by government weatherization programs (you can't insulate a leaking attic), can now receive the needed upgrades to create a safe, healthy and energy efficient residence.


In Ms. Thompson's home, none of the cracked and rotted windows could even close, and all of them tested positive for lead.  After making the necessary repairs to her home, Isles equipped her with our "Healthy Homes Kit" with healthy cleaning products, tools to prevent pests, and items to protect her home from dust mites or bed bugs.


While government programs continue to treat the challenges of  child health, energy, structural defects, and jobs individually, Isles integrates them into one "whole house" approach.


We invest about $7,000 into homes like Ms. Thompson's. This investment  saves the homeowner money, improves their safety and health, and keeps the home occupied, while saving the community and taxpayers much more. For every $1 invested in healthy homes or energy efficiency repairs, taxpayers - not just homeowners - receive many times more in health and energy savings.  



Isles in the News

A Fork in the Road is a short documentary featuring Andre Thomas, Training Manager at Isles' Center for Energy and Environmental Training. 


There may still be time to increase your 2014 year end donation to Isles with a matching gift! Many companies allow employees to submit a match request up to 90 days after the date of your donation. Don't know your company's policy? Click here to search for companies with matching gift programs, guidelines, and forms.


10 Wood Street
Trenton, New Jersey 08618