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The Trevor Project Names Jaymes Black as New Chief Executive Officer

BY: Trevor News
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Jaymes Black (they/she/he pronouns) makes history as the first Black and first nonbinary CEO of the nonprofit organization

July 10, 2024 – The Trevor Project, the leading suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ+) young people, announced Jaymes Black (they/she/he pronouns) as its new Chief Executive Officer.  Black, an accomplished senior leader with more than 20 years of experience managing high performing teams at scale, is stepping in to lead the organization, effective July 15. Black will succeed Peggy Rajski (she/her), a founder and decades-long Board Member who stepped in as Interim CEO in 2022. 

Black’s substantial expertise blends nonprofit and corporate competencies, and spans business and community leadership, LGBTQ+ advocacy and coalition building, fundraising strategy and innovation, large budget oversight and financial acumen, call center operations and user experience, and more. In addition to their extensive professional qualifications, they identify as a Black nonbinary lesbian – bringing compelling lived experience that will help The Trevor Project work toward its mission to end suicide among LGBTQ+ young people.

“I am elated and deeply honored to step into the role of CEO at The Trevor Project for so many reasons – especially since this is an organization I desperately needed myself as a queer young person growing up in South Texas,” said Jaymes Black (they/she/he pronouns), incoming CEO at The Trevor Project. “Right now, far too many queer and transgender young people are struggling with thoughts of suicide and other mental health challenges – not because of who they are, but because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized by other people. I know what that feels like, first hand. I also know this is an enormously difficult moment for both Trevor and the young people we serve. Anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and the dangerous, demeaning rhetoric surrounding it has reached a record high in this country, and LGBTQ+ young people are constantly being exposed to messages that attempt to invalidate their very identities. As CEO, it is my job to reinforce that LGBTQ+ young people have so many more people who love and support them exactly as they are, than those who wish them harm. This work won’t be easy, but I am ready to roll my sleeves up to help create a world in which all LGBTQ+ young people feel safe, accepted, and free to thrive as their truest selves.”

Prior to joining Trevor, Black served as President & CEO at Family Equality, the leading national organization for current and future LGBTQ+ families. Family Equality works to ensure everyone has the freedom to find, form, and sustain their families by advancing LGBTQ+ equality through advocacy, support, storytelling, and education. 

“We are thrilled to welcome Jaymes as our new CEO at such a critical moment for The Trevor Project, and for the LGBTQ+ young people we serve,” said Julian Moore (he/him), Chair of The Trevor Project’s Board of Directors. “The search for Trevor’s new leader was rigorous and throughout the process, Jaymes established themself as a sort of ‘unicorn’ candidate. Their history of successful leadership in finance, technology, and business, combined with leading and growing an LGBTQ+ nonprofit during a historically challenging time for our community, makes Jaymes a uniquely remarkable fit. The role of CEO is a big job, and we are more than confident in Jaymes’ ability to lead The Trevor Project forward.”

Prior to leading Family Equality, Black had a seasoned career in the corporate sector, where they held a variety of senior leadership roles, including at companies such as Charles Schwab, Sabre Corporation, and Northrop Grumman. Black has an MS in Management and was honored on The 2022 Out Magazine’s Out100 list — a compilation of the year’s most impactful and influential LGBTQ+ people.

Statement from Kelley Robinson (she/her), President, Human Rights Campaign:

 “Our movement is facing an urgent moment where we must both meet the needs of our people today and fight for a future where there are laws, policy, and the type of representation for us to get free. This is also a defining moment as movement leaders seek to meet the demands and build organizations that can create the kind of impact our communities deserve. Jaymes uniquely gets this.”

Statement from Nadine Smith (she/her), Co-Founder & CEO at Equality Florida:

“Jaymes Black’s leadership at The Trevor Project comes at a crucial time for LGBTQ youth and families facing extremist attacks. With a deep understanding of our community’s needs and a strong commitment to innovative problem-solving, Jaymes will guide The Trevor Project in meeting current challenges and building a stronger, and more resilient organization.”

“We are overjoyed to welcome Jaymes to Trevor, and they are well-positioned to lead the organization into its next chapter,” said Rajski. “For more than 26 years, The Trevor Project has been providing high-quality, life-saving crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to our beloved LGBTQ+ young people. When I founded the organization back in 1998, I never imagined it would grow to such heights. I know that Jaymes – and their decorated background – will usher the organization through its next phase, continuing our critical work supporting LGBTQ+ young people for generations to come.”

“We are immensely grateful to Peggy Rajski for stepping in at the Board’s request as The Trevor Project’s Interim CEO, and stabilizing the organization during a period of significant change,” continued Moore. “Peggy’s leadership has enabled The Trevor Project to serve more LGBTQ+ youth in crisis than ever before. We’re thankful for Peggy’s support as Jaymes steps into their role as the organization’s new CEO. As a Founder of The Trevor Project in 1998, Peggy has continued her deep commitment to supporting LGBTQ+ youth mental health for longer than 26 years, and her positive impact will continue as she returns to her seat on the Board.”

Rajski will support Black’s transition as the Special Advisor to the CEO, then return to her role on the organization’s Board. 

If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting START to 678678.

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