As President and CEO of Communities First, Inc., I am proud of our accomplishments and success and I want to say thank you to all of our community partners, supporters and funders as we continue to reach our goals this year.
I am excited about our plans to for 2017 and 2018 including a multi-million project to renovated Coolidge Elementary School on Flint’s west side continuing our mission to provide affordable housing for people in the Flint community and hopes to expose people to a better quality of life.
We have already made several strides with our housing developments in Flint. Through our Oak Street Senior Apartments and Swayze Court Apartments projects we have provided nearly 60 people with affordable housing, exposed tenants to arts and culture, helped residents gain skills, and opened doors and opportunities by providing various resources and tools.
This year, we implemented financial education through a partnership with PNC Bank and introduced residents to budget management and credit repair tools. We also developed a gardening program allowing residents to pursue a master gardening certification and connected residents with various health professionals though Genesee Health Systems to address both physical and mental health needs of residents living in our developments.
At Communities First, Inc., we take a holistic approach to building sustainable communities, looking at systems and individuals as a whole by focusing on affordable housing, economic development, arts and culture outreach and environmental education.
All of our programs complement and build upon one another as we continue to work to maximize our reach through strong partnerships throughout not only Flint but also with neighboring communities.
We are impacting our community and changing lives but we understand that it takes a village to shape a community so our reach goes beyond the walls of our housing projects.
In 2015 we introduced Culture Shock program to encourage young people to seek out opportunities in music and art. We have seen an increased interest and participation in our Culture Shock events throughout the community. Communities First, Inc. serves as an important liaison between cultural institutions and disconnected populations, promoting participation in arts and culture.
For summer 2017, we continued our Movies Under the Stars initiative, a summer-long movie series that not only allows families to come together to enjoy each other but also introduces participants to Genesee County parks and other public spaces including Flint City Hall. This year we will be expanding that event to the Saginaw area in hopes of continuing to bridge gaps in arts and culture, and community awareness.
Communities First, Inc. does not chase funding like some other organizations. We develop much needed programming believing that funding will align with the needs of the community. We serve as an intermediary between the community and resources, bringing to fruition projects and programs that are highly effective. We have been in existence for nearly 7 years, which is a great accomplishment in the nonprofit realm. Statistically, most nonprofits fail in the first 3 years. We think long about strategy, implementation and results. We want results and we understand that those who support us want to see results. An investment in Communities First, Inc. is an investment in an improved quality of life for those we serve!
Glenn A.Wilson, President & CEO