Mary Isabelle Wagner, founder of Community Living Centers, Inc. was a special education teacher and the mother of an intellectually disabled son.
In the late 1960’s, Mary Wagner was a part of the movement to de-institutionalize individuals with intellectual disabilities. She was a pioneer in the field and opened her first group home in 1968 to 6 gentlemen, 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 individuals with developmental disabilities.
By the 1980’s, CLC had expanded to six privately owned and licensed group homes with a waiting list of over 100 people.
Today, CLC owns and operates 12 group homes supporting people with special needs 24 hours per day and provides support services to people with special needs living in their own community-based homes and apartments. We now employ more than 130 Direct Support Professionals, Medical Coordinators, Program Managers and Office Staff.
Until the early 2000s, we were a private agency funded mainly by the families of the people we serve 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 Oakland Community Health Network (OCHN), 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 recently moved down to Florida to retire with his sister. He, along with the special needs students she taught, were 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 our residents need to grow and succeed in their communities.
Community Living Centers, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1968 to care for people with developmental disabilities. Our mission is to provide enriching opportunities for people with developmental disabilities that respects and supports each individual’s success and growth through making personal choices in an atmosphere of success. Our goal is to provide safe and comfortable homes that are welcomed in their communities. We actively promote wellness of body, mind, and spirit by provided an enriching environment of opportunities for all our residents.
We are committed to achieving a standard of excellence by being an embraced member of the community and by maintaining the trust, confidence, and support of the individuals we serve, making us the home where everyone wants to live.