Nick Hill takes the helm as Interim Executive Director of MLKcommUNITY Initiative

April 11, 2024 /

Today, Nick Hill was named the Interim Executive Director of the Circle of Life Development Foundation, also known as the MLKcommUNITY Initiative, which is an economic development organization dedicated to fostering growth and prosperity in the community. 

The Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to driving economic growth and improving the quality of life in Bakersfield. The Foundation seeks to empower individuals and revitalize communities through strategic partnerships, investments, and innovative programming. Its focus areas include workforce development, environmental sustainability, and fostering entrepreneurial initiatives.

“The Foundation’s work is grounded in the belief that economic development should be inclusive, equitable, and sustainable — ensuring a thriving future for all residents,” stated a press release sent out by the organization. 

As the Interim Executive Director, Hill will manage the Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) Grant, a multi-million-dollar initiative focused on environmental equity and sustainability in the Southeast area of Bakersfield. The MLKcommUNITY Initiative will bring forth a community garden collaboration, education, and engagement, and establish the Salt & Pepper Food Co-op.

“I am honored to join the Circle of Life Development Foundation at such a transformative time,” stated Hill. “The TCC Grant and our partnership with Stanford University, CARB, and Cal Start are game changers for Bakersfield. I am committed to leveraging these opportunities to their full potential, ensuring long-term benefits for our community.”

The MLKcommUNITY Initiative is a current stakeholder on the grant with the City of Bakersfield’s recent $22 million win, along with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), Cal Start, and Stanford University.

With his wealth of experience in economic development and a proven track record of leadership, Hill is poised to steer the MLKcommUNITY Initiative through a period of strategic growth and substantial impact while also bringing transformative change to the Bakersfield area.

“His expertise will be invaluable in advancing the Foundation’s mission to create sustainable economic opportunities for the residents of Bakersfield,” the organization stated in a press release.

Hill’s role will include ensuring that grant funds are efficiently utilized to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, bolster public health, and provide economic benefits to disadvantaged communities. 

Additionally, Hill will oversee the significant partnership with Stanford University, which has granted the Foundation access to cutting-edge research, innovative technologies, and academic expertise. This collaboration aims to foster health empowerment through education and community engagement. 

“The Circle of Life Development Foundation is at a pivotal point in its journey, and we are thrilled to have Nick Hill’s dynamic leadership to guide us forward,” said Ms. Empress, the Community Outreach Director at the Foundation. “His deep understanding of economic development and his passion for community enrichment make him the ideal candidate to oversee these crucial initiatives.”

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Victoria Rodgers

Victoria Rodgers is an editor and reporter for Kern Sol News. Born in Bakersfield, CA, she received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Rockford University in Illinois. She can be reached at