Friends of Refugees

A U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program Watchdog Group

International Institute of New Jersey closes down

Posted by Christopher Coen on May 15, 2012

It was just three weeks ago that a newspaper article featured the International Institute of New Jersey (IINJ) and explained the agency’s services and activities. There was not even a hint of any brewing problems. Today the same newspaper has announced the IINJ’s abrupt closing, and just a day after another article announced that the agency was “downsizing” due to $800,000 in federal and state aid cuts. Now it turns out that when the April article appeared the IINJ had not paid its rent in seven months. An article today in The Jersey Journal announced the closing:

Reversing comments they made yesterday, officials with the International Institute of New Jersey (IINJ), a Jersey City-based nonprofit that provides services for immigrants, said today the organization will be closing by mid-June and declaring bankruptcy.

Yesterday, the director and chair of the organization, told The Jersey Journal the nonprofit was “downsizing” and relocating due to a total of $800,000 in federal and state aid cuts. 

The organization’s budget is $1.8 million a year, according to IINJ executive director Catherine Tansey.

According to an email sent to supporters from IINJ board chair Bill Armbruster that was obtained by The Jersey Journal, the nonprofit, located at 1 Journal Square, ended most operations on Friday, “though some will continue to the end of the month”…

…”We are supposed to make the final payments to the staff on May 18, but that will depend on when funds arrive,” he wrote. “We will be filing for bankruptcy shortly after we receive the last grant money due the Institute, which will probably be around mid-June.”

In the email, Armbruster states the organization owes eight months in back rent. “The cutbacks in government funding and our inability to raise sufficient private funds, whether from corporations, foundations and individual donors, put us in a chronic deficit,” he states.

IINJ employs 12 full-time staff and has 10 AmeriCorps volunteers, IINJ officials said yesterday.

IINJ has been serving immigrants in Hudson County since 1918… Read more here

2 Responses to “International Institute of New Jersey closes down”

  1. hotrod64 said

    I remember calling them several times to inquire about their services for Survivors of Torture, which were listed on their web site. No one answered the phone or returned my calls.

  2. I was an AmeriCorps volunteer there in 1998. I was able to take part in so many of their worthy services. I tutored some of the lowest scoring 4th graders in the country when federal testing was reserved to 4th and 8th grade. I not only helped improve those scores in an overcrowded urban school, I established an additional AmeriCorps volunteer post in Guidance to assist the Guidance counselor where low scores were influenced by social ills and challenges. We were effective in proactive interventions Through this agency I was also placed with Jesuit Refugee Services where I began as a visitor for non-documented refugees awaiting trial who were housed in the Elizabeth detention center, and later taught a weekly English class inside the center. The summer I was assigned at the Boys and Girls Club where I hosted a drama class for young children. I also planted flowers at a senior facility for Earth Day. Additionally I organized a team building activity where half a dozen colleagues camped overnight in collaboration. And this was all in the course of a single year!! All because this amazing agency made it all possible and was not about doing nothing!! So sorry to see it go.

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