Notable Minority Executives: Rafael Garcia

Executive director, Community First

  • Category: Notable Minority Executives
  • Number of years working in your current industry: 16
  • Undergrad degree/university: Business/Cardinal Stritch
  • Graduate degree/university: ACRE

Rafael Garcia is a real estate developer and executive director of Milwaukee-based Community First, a non-profit organization that fosters affordable housing.

Community First began as the housing program of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee. In 2011, the YMCA supported Community First’s “spin off” as a separate non-profit agency, under the direction of Garcia.

Since opening its doors in 2012, Community First has been offering services to Milwaukee’s central city neighborhoods by coordinating substantial home repair projects for homeowners in need.

Community First works (at no cost) with under-resourced homeowners to ensure that their homes are brought up to code.

Since 2012, Community First has made $1.5 million worth of home improvements in the community, serving more than 100 households.

“I love the opportunity to work with Milwaukee’s central city residents to improve their quality of life, starting with their home. I get the opportunity to meet so many passionate people that are as committed to improving our neighborhoods as I am. I do have an absolutely wonderful job,” Garcia said in a NEWaukee profile.

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