February 22, 2024 - Mayor Tom Henry today announced Michael Patton, MNA as the new executive director of Fort Wayne UNITED.

Patton brings multiple decades of expertise and leadership to Fort Wayne UNITED and the City of Fort Wayne. Most recently, Patton served as the diversity compliance inclusion officer for the City of South Bend. He also has professional experience with the Foundation of Saint Joseph Health System in Mishawaka, WorkOne of Northern Indiana in South Bend, President and CEO of the Urban League of South Bend/St. Joseph County, Board President South Bend Branch of the NAACP, and 1st Source Bank in South Bend.

Patton has experience in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. He holds a diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace certificate from the University of South Florida. In addition, Patton has served as an administrator/trainer in the Intercultural Development Inventory Program. He is an Air Force veteran with more than six years of service. Patton is also a published author of the book “Reconnecting with Divine Grace” which is a book of 365 days of meditations.

He received his undergraduate degree in organizational management from Bethel University and earned an Executive Master’s of Non-Profit Administration degree from the University of Notre Dame. Patton is married. Together he and his wife have a blended family of five children.

“I’ve gotten to know Michael and appreciate his passion for people and a commitment to helping Fort Wayne residents grow and succeed,” said Mayor Henry. “Fort Wayne UNITED has become a national model that continues to make a lasting and meaningful difference for individuals and families in our community. I’m confident that Michael will be able to take our efforts to the next level.”

“I’m grateful to Mayor Henry and the Fort Wayne UNITED Steering Committee for their collective belief and trust in me,” said Patton. “Fort Wayne is a wonderful community of people who want what’s best for one another. This is a great opportunity to make an impact and improve lives and relationships in a positive way.”

Patton started in his official capacity with Fort Wayne UNITED last month. Patton replaced Iric Headley, the founding executive director of Fort Wayne UNITED, who continues to be a leader in the community through his employment with Surack Enterprises.

“While it has been a great honor to serve under Mayor Henry for many years, I am grateful and encouraged that the members of our Fort Wayne UNITED transition team were successful at finding a leader with Michael’s character, role specific skillsets, and invaluable experiences that make him a tremendous asset in the seat of executive director,” said Headley. “I have the utmost respect for Michael and trust that he will lead Fort Wayne UNITED through the seasons ahead, while taking it to the next level.”

Since its launch in 2016, Fort Wayne UNITED has brought together a group of passionate and committed leaders to engage, educate, and empower young Black men and boys in our community to make positive change one individual at a time. There are now over 10 on-going, successful Fort Wayne UNITED programs and initiatives.

Fort Wayne UNITED is a Mayoral initiative that places two national efforts, Cities United and My Brother's Keeper, under one umbrella. It is designed to answer the call to enhance opportunities, advance youth advocacy and help create a safer city for all, but more specifically for Black men and boys. By bringing together a group of passionate and committed leaders, the initiative will educate, inform, and engage the community to make positive change.

Fort Wayne UNITED’s vision is for every Black male in Fort Wayne to be respected and valued with an opportunity to reach their full potential. The mission is to implement practices and programs to ensure that Black men and boys reach their full potential, neighborhoods are safe and hopeful, and leaders are empowered to build a more racially inclusive community.