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An international community for LGBTQ youth: A Q&A with Amit Paley, CEO and Executive Director, Trevor Project

April 21, 2022

Headshot_Amit Paley_Trevor_ProejctAmit Paley is the CEO and executive director of the Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people. Before diving into the world of philanthropy, Paley was an associate partner at McKinsey & Company, where he led the global consulting firm’s LGBTQ group and spearheaded its efforts on inclusion for transgender and nonbinary people. Before his work at McKinsey, Paley was a reporter at the Washington Post, where he covered numerous beats, including as a foreign correspondent based in the paper’s Baghdad bureau. His coverage earned him a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize. 

Paley began his work with the Trevor Project as a counselor on the 24/7 TrevorLifeline in 2011, where he continues to take calls. Paley is the first volunteer in the organization’s history to become CEO and has served in the position since 2017. Under his leadership, the organization has built and launched an integrated crisis services platform, expanded its chat and text services to 24/7, and more than quadrupled the number of youth served each month. 

Earlier this year, the Trevor Project announced plans to launch its crisis services in Mexico. PND asked Paley about his expectations for the international expansion and what it means for the organization in the long run. 

Philanthropy News Digest: As a former counselor, what do you think is the most important trait to look for in the first crop of volunteers in Mexico?  

Amit Paley: While the geography will be different, the goal will be the same: The Trevor Project’s crisis services volunteers are trained to support LGBTQ young people who reach out to us when they are feeling suicidal or need a safe, non-judgmental place to talk. Outside of being passionate about our mission to end LGBTQ youth suicide, we look for volunteers who embody empathy and understanding and are committed to this life-saving work.

For the last 10 years, I have been a crisis counselor for TrevorLifeline, which has kept me grounded and centered on our mission, even as Trevor continues to grow and expand. This is a pivotal moment for our organization, and the first group of counselors that we train in Mexico will play a crucial role in helping establish Trevor as a trusted resource for LGBTQ youth around the world....

Read the full Q&A with Amit Paley, CEO and executive director of the Trevor Project.

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