Rescue Mission's CEO to step down in March
08 Nov 2022 — Journal Gazette
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Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

Donovan Coley is stepping down from leadership of the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission after serving as president and chief executive officer for 15 years, the nonprofit organization announced Monday.

Coley, a pastor, was instrumental in moving the mission's shelter for the homeless from a building in the 300 block of East Superior Street near Promenade Park to a newly built, 80,000-square-foot facility at 404 E. Washington Blvd.

The mission closed out a $20 million capital campaign for the new location in late 2021. The facility is estimated to have cost $23 million.

Coley will leave in March, the organization said in an emailed news release. The organization's board of directors will seek a replacement between now and then as part of "a transition process."

The mission's board is working with AGORA Search Group of Colorado Springs, Colorado to conduct a nationwide search. AGORA offers its services to churches and nonprofits seeking new leadership candidates.

It's undetermined when Coley's last day will be, as he will remain to mentor a replacement in the job for two months, said Blake Douglas, senior director of marketing and events.

Douglas said Coley is not retiring or leaving for health or family reasons and has no new position lined up. "There's nothing under the table" about his leaving," Douglas said, adding Coley and the board have been discussing the move since at least earlier this year.

Coley "felt God was calling him to his next job," Douglas said. "He doesn't know where this is taking him, but he plans on continuing to listen to what God is saying."

Coley said in the release he would miss serving with the mission but looks forward to spending more time with his wife and family.

"I believe 2023 is the right time for me to entrust the organization with a new leader. The senior leadership team and I have laid out a vision for the organization that will guide it for many years to come," he said in the release.

Coley is seen by many leaders in the Fort Wayne area as an expert on homelessness and ways to address it. The mission's programs now include an emergency shelter, services and housing programs for homeless men at the Washington Boulevard facility and for women at Charis House and Treasure House, a thrift store.

The mission also is experiencing a clientele that is more than doubling, Douglas said, adding he could not immediately provide statistics.

"We think it has to do with COVID and a rise in mental illness in the community, and not just Fort Wayne," Douglas said.

Coley will continue to serve during the transition on several Fort Wayne area boards, including Love Fort Wayne, Parkview Regional Medical Center and Thrivent's Mid-America Region. He also is on the Board of the Citygate Network, Colorado Springs.

Coley "has tirelessly given himself to serving the residents, donors and staff of the Rescue Mission over the past 15 years," said Jeff Ostermann, Rescue Mission board chairman.

"Our entire board could not be any more grateful for the integrity, excellence and faithful commitment with which he has led. He has been a true asset to our community throughout his tenure and, just as importantly, a wonderful friend to those of us who have known him best.

"We wish him the absolute best in this next phase of his journey."

Rescue Mission officials ask anyone seeking more details or interested in applying for Coley's position to contact Mark MacKay at or 414-334-1228.


This story is provided free courtesy of The Journal.
"Rescue Mission's CEO to step down in March" Journal Gazette 08 Nov 2022: A3