Communities First, Inc. Co-Founder, Named as one of Michigan Chronicle’s 40 Under 40

Communities First, Inc. Co-Founder, Named as one of Michigan Chronicle’s 40 Under 40

Flint, MI – On September 21st, the Michigan Chronicle released its prestigious 40 Under 40 list for 2015.  Essence Wilson, co-founder of Communities First, Inc. was named as one of the recipients of the award. The Michigan Chronicle recognizes African-American professionals who have excelled in their professions, personal lives and community sectors.

Wilson and Communities First, Inc. President/CEO of Communities First, Inc. Glenn Wilson, established the organization in 2010 to meet the growing needs of the community in the areas of affordable housing, economic development, arts and culture outreach and environmental programs.

Essence Wilson has been very involved in the Flint community.  She participated in the development of the City of Flint Master plan and facilitated one of the implementation groups.  Wilson co-founded a girls after school STEM club called Curiosity Academy, inspired by her own experience of as a female Kettering University student.  She will be graduating in December from Michigan State University with a Masters in management, strategy and leadership. Additionally, she serves on committees at Flint Institute of Music and Flint Institute of Arts.

“It was surprising to discover that I was nominated for the 40 Under 40, because I tend to be focused on the day to day efforts to make the community a better place.  It’s nice to know that there are people who notice the work that we are doing and find it important to recognize the impact that we are making.  Being recognized in another community shows that people are hearing about Communities First, Inc. and appreciate the work that we do. I share the honor with my co-founder, Glenn Wilson, our board of directors and our volunteers because we are a team, working together to change lives”, said Essence Wilson.

Award recipients will be honored in Detroit at The Loft on Thursday, Oct. 22.

The official release from the Michigan Chronicle can be found at

Communities First, Inc.

Communities First, Inc. is a Flint based nonprofit Community Development Corporation which was founded in 2010. The priorities of CFI are affordable housing, economic development, green programs, and quality of life programs. CFI is committed to building sustainable, equitable communities in distressed areas.  The organization is the developer of Oak Street Senior Apartments, a $5.1 million 24 unit apartment building for low income seniors located in downtown Flint and has amongst its programs Culture Shock and Green Life.  More information about Communities First, Inc. can be found at

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