Chicagoan Mark Payne named Executive Director of CeaseFire Illinois

Mark Payne, a native Chicagoan with a passion for neighborhoods, particularly on the south and west sides, has been named Executive Director of CeaseFire, the Illinois program partner of Cure Violence, a top 20 global NGO with a mission to reduce violence globally using disease control and behavior change methods.

“I’ve spent my career organizing and building partnerships focused on youth and economic development initiatives throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods including Uptown, Bronzeville, and North Lawndale. As Executive Director of CeaseFire Illinois, I am excited to build real partnerships with community organizations that successfully reduce and prevent violence in Chicago’s highest-risk neighborhoods,” said Payne who begins his new position on September 8, 2015.

Payne will join Jalon Arthur, CeaseFire Illinois’ program director, in efforts to restore state funding for CeaseFire during the ongoing Fiscal Year 2016 budget discussions in Springfield. Despite the state’s lack of a budget, CeaseFire programs currently operating in Chicago neighborhoods include South Shore, Woodlawn, Little Village (Enlace), Roseland (Roseland CeaseFire), Cicero (Corazon), Orr Academy High School, hospital response and intervention programs at Stroger, Advocate Christ and Northwestern. Funding has been secured and implementation is underway for the W. Englewood and North Lawndale neighborhoods and the addition of Mt. Sinai hospital to the specialized intervention program CeaseFire operates.

Payne’s experience since 2000 has been built in public service to the City of Chicago, its neighborhoods and its citizens. He has served as an outreach coordinator for the Near West Side Community Development Corporation, general manager of government and community relations for the CTA, director of public affairs for the Independent Police Review Authority, deputy chief of staff for public safety for the Chicago Mayor’s office and most recently worked with DePaul’s Egan Urban Center to design and develop a curriculum to train community organizations and Chicago Police Department officers to establish long-standing and sustainable partnerships that include community residents, ultimately changing the way community policing works.

“Mark was the catalyst for the new community policing curriculum,” John Ziegler, Director of DePaul’s Urban Egan Center stated. “He was critical in moving the conversation where we were unable to move it. He’s an organizer and knows how to navigate and negotiate diverse systems,” L. Anton Seals Jr., neighborhood and community coordinator for the Egan Center added.

Mark is also a co-facilitator for the National League of Cities Black Male Achievement Initiative and served on the leadership team of Mayor Emanuel’s Commission for a Safer Chicago and the Department of Justice National Forum on Youth Violence.

Anti-violence activist Father Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church, knows Mark Payne well. “Mark is a bridge-builder who has never lost touch with the community. He has a long history in Chicago and experience building relationships; those skills will serve him well in forming the necessary partnerships that will eradicate Chicago’s violence,” Pfleger added.

As Executive Director, Payne will supervise operations including partnerships, government relations, fundraising, finance, board relations, administration and public affairs.