Wallace McLaughlin, Ph.D., a native of Fort Valley, Georgia is the President/CEO of Fathers and Families Center. Immediately upon graduation from the University of West Georgia, Dr. McLaughlin was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force. In 1991, he resigned his commission as Captain after serving 12 years on active and reserve duty. He was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for Meritorious Service. While serving in the military, Dr. McLaughlin was ordained as a minister in the Christian Methodist Church (CME) Church. After completing his military duty, Dr. McLaughlin attended the Divinity School at Harvard University and was awarded the Masters of Divinity degree. As an ordained minister he served as associate pastor for youth and young adults in churches in Fort Meade, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Boston, Massachusetts. He also served as campus minister at the Wesley Foundation (United Methodist), Purdue University and Pastor of Grace Memorial C.M.E. Church, Indianapolis, Indiana. In 1993, he founded and served as Pastor of Imani Community Church for 23 years with a special outreach ministry to young urban fathers and their families. He has traveled extensively and done missionary work in Haiti, Brazil, and Ecuador. Currently, he serves as Pastor of Covenant Community Church.
While completing his Ph.D., at Purdue University, he started working with Wishard’s Social Work Department as the Program Director for its Father Resource Program. As the program grew and evolved into its own 501 (c) 3. Dr. McLaughlin was asked to serve as the President/CEO in 1999. Since then, he has continued to serve in this leadership role. For the last 22 years the vision of Dr. Wallace McLaughlin has manifested into one of the largest non-profit agencies in the country that concentrates primarily on Fatherhood. Since program inception, the Center has assisted over 15,000 fathers in achieving self-sufficiency and in strengthening their families to improve the life chances of their children. In the past two Mayor’s Task Force Reports on Crime Prevention, Fathers and Families Center has been recognized as a model program for working with at-risk African-American men in the community.
Dr. McLaughlin soon became one of the first leaders in the Fatherhood field starting in the 1990s. He was a founding Board Member for the National Practitioners Network for Fathers and Families. Under his leadership the Center has secured federal, state, and local funding to support initiatives promoting responsible fatherhood, healthy relationships, ex-offender re-integration, crime prevention, and fathering special needs children. Dr. McLaughlin has led the agency in transitioning from a hospital-based program to an independent and free-standing community based organization, receiving United Way Certification and increasing community awareness and support. Dr. McLaughlin is a national speaker, trainer and consultant on the issues of responsible fatherhood. In 2005, he was selected as a member of the Inaugural Class of Hoosier Fellows. In 2006 he received the Stew Wood Youth Advocacy Award for outstanding youth advocacy in the community. In 2009 he received the Greater Indianapolis NAACP Humanitarian Award. In 2016, Dr. McLaughlin received the Jefferson Award and the Center for Leadership Development’s Minority Achievers Award in recognition of outstanding public service. He is a member of the Indianapolis Chapter of the 100 Black Men and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. He is married to the former Karla Ann Hay of Toronto, Canada and they are the proud parents of one son, Jackson Karl McLaughlin.