Our Initiatives

Jenifer Wagley

“I am not a problem solver. I am a community builder. Relationships build communities, and communities solve problems.”

Jenifer Wagley says she approaches community development work intensely, as if her very soul depends on it. The ordained minister and seasoned activist is deputy director of Avenue CDC, a Houston nonprofit dedicated to building affordable housing and strengthening communities. She helps lead the organization’s comprehensive community development model, which has leveraged more than $70 million in resources for the city’s Greater Northside community. This has fueled a range of important local assets like new charter schools, park and greenspace improvements, and even a home repair program that is specifically designed to help low-income, disabled and veteran homeowners. In 2017, Jenifer’s efforts helped Avenue CDC win the American Planning Association’s National Planning Excellence Award for Advancing Diversity & Social Change.

Prior to joining Avenue CDC, Jenifer was a community organizer with The Metropolitan Organization in Houston, where she engaged member institutions in a leadership development process and worked closely with residents to advocate on key issues. She also served as an associate minister for education at First Congregational Church in Houston.

Jenifer holds two master’s degrees from Baylor University—in theology and in educational psychology—as well as a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Louisiana College. 


Avenue CDC; Houston, TX

Area of Focus:

Leadership development

Fellowship Project:

Research and writing to develop a series of evidence-based presentations on community development, social justice, democracy and other equity-related topics.

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