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Michigan nonprofit selected for national racial equity cohort 

Flint, MI – Communities First, Inc. (CFI), a Flint based but Michigan nonprofit, was recently selected for the Building Health Places Network (BHPN) 2022 Community Innovations for Racial Equity (CIRE) Initiative peer learning cohort.

“As a Black-founded and led organization, CFI has built all programming with a strong racial equity and social justice framework” said Essence Wilson, co-founder and chief strategy officer at Communities First.

“These principles are foundational to our community development work in Flint,” Essence Wilson added.

Communities First was 1 of 10 BIPOC-led nonprofit organizations to be selected for this national program. Funded by The Kresge Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, each organization will be awarded $40,000 to support staff or a consultant to lead healthcare engagement, $60,000 of in-kind technical support provided by BHPN and facilitated connections to a national network of peer support.

“At Communities First, we believe racial equity impacts all aspects of individuals’ lives.” stated Glenn Wilson, president and CEO as well as co-founder of Communities First.

“From health to social and economic mobility, we are passionate about making real change by empowering people and building communities,” Glenn Wilson added.

For Communities First, this learning cohort will support expansions at the Community Enrichment Center (CEC) in north Flint. Once redeveloped, the facility will include on-site resources and programming that respond to various social determinants of health, which at their core are associated with racial inequalities, and respond to the community’s need for healthcare. 

“Over the next 18 months, we will work within Flint to advance racial equity through partnerships with key stakeholders,” said Glenn Wilson.

Like-minded organizations, including local health care providers and community service agencies and nonprofits, are invited to connect with Communities First to discuss opportunities for collaboration. 

About Communities First, Inc. (CFI)

Communities First, Inc. is a nonprofit Community Development Corporation. Headquartered in Flint, CFI serves over 35,000 community members across Michigan and Indiana. CFI’s mission is to build healthy, vibrant communities through economic development, affordable housing and innovative programming. More information about Communities First, Inc. can be found at

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