Essence Wilson has dedicated herself to developing people and places to transform communities. She co-founded Communities First, Inc., a nonprofit community development corporation with her husband, Glenn Wilson in 2010. The organization works to impact distressed communities through affordable housing, economic development, arts and culture outreach, and environmental education. This holistic approach to community development is producing lasting community change. Her efforts in grant writing and project management have helped the organization secure more than $41 million of investment for the local community.