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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Isles, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Community & Neighborhood Development, Economic Development, Homeless & Housing, Housing Rehabilitation


Founded in 1981 by students and faculty of Princeton University, Isles is an award-winning community development and environmental nonprofit organization. Isles’ mission is to foster self-reliant families in healthy, sustainable communities.


Isles is known for its comprehensive approach to complex community challenges, offering services such as:

  • Green job training
  • Green real estate development
  • Community gardening
  • Homebuyer education
  • Foreclosure prevention counseling
  • Community planning
  • Youth training and education
  • Micro-business loans
  • Environmental education and remediation


To broaden its impact, Isles develops easily replicable approaches to community development. Isles works with hundreds of public, private, and academic partners to achieve innovative, cost-effective ways to accomplish its mission. In addition to community-based development services, Isles works to change regional and statewide policies that concentrate poverty, undermine schools, promote sprawl, and foster racial segregation.

Geographic areas served: Trenton, NJ


Isles’ Center for Energy and Environmental Training collaborates with private industry, labor, state and local government, higher education, and community-based organizations to train New Jersey residents for green jobs that improve the environment and stimulate the economy. Training is available for community members seeking entry-level positions in green careers, workers wishing to advance their skills and certifications, and employers seeking customized training for their employees.

Community Stories

2 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

It is hard to know who benefits more from an affiliation with Isles -- its clients, staff, board, community, partners, donors, advisors, city? Isles asks tough questions of itself, its clients, collaborators, others. It does not rest on its laurels and it tries not to "count" accomplishments or accept them them as reflective of success. The constant Isles question is "so what?" It is not a disrespectful question, but rather a way of honoring its mission and values, clients and donors, of gauging progress and keeping itself on its toes, humble, transparent, earthy, creative, hard-working and working-smart. Isles did not just choose a well-worded mission -- it lives by it.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement at The College of New Jersey has worked with Isles for several years in different capacities. They are able to host a Bonner Team who works closely with their Youth Build Program. We've also worked with their Environment and Community Health program in different activities, from helping them with their garden, to Isles staff providing professional advice for our garden on campus. Just last week, the Marty, the Executive Director of Isles visited the campus and shared his experiences with a group of 30 students or so. Isles is comprehensive and an integral part of Trenton.