Our History

Let your heart be seen in your actions today.


Mary Isabelle Wagner, founder of Community Living Centers, was a special education teacher and the mother of a developmentally disabled son.

In the late 1960’s Mary Wagner was a part of the movement to de-institutionalize individuals with developmental disabilities. She was a pioneer in the field, and opened her first group home in 1968 to 6 clients, and her family resided with them.

In the years that followed, Mary took her enthusiasm to Washington DC and worked with political leaders to establish the National Association of Private Residential Facilities, which is still in existence today.

Her efforts were recognized in the 1985 edition of Who’s Who in the Midwest. She also received a Presidential Award in the same year for providing excellent private residential services to the developmentally disabled.

By the 1980’s, CLC had expanded to six privately owned and licensed group homes with a waiting list of over 100.

Today, CLC owns and operates 11 group homes supporting special needs individuals 24 hours per day, and provides support services to special needs individuals living in their own community based homes and apartments. We now employ more than 130 direct care givers, medical coordinators, program managers and office staff.

Until the early 2000s, we were a private agency funded mainly by the families of our residents and fundraising efforts, such as our annual gala, the Celebrity Chefs Dinner. We are no longer a private agency but instead receive some of our funding through Macomb Oakland Regional Center (MORC, Inc.), and continue to rely heavily on grants, fundraising and donations to provide the best care possible.

Mary passed away in December 2001. Bob Wagner, Mary’s very supportive husband, passed away in January 2007. Their son still lives with CLC today; he retired from the post office a few years ago and enjoys living independently. He, along with the special needs students she taught, was the inspiration for his parents to create CLC; although Bob and Mary are no longer with us, we strive to continue their legacy by providing the quality and quantity of support and care all of our clients need to grow and succeed in their communities.