PJF in summary



We envision a world where all LGBTQ+ humans are heard, housed, and mentally healthy.


The mission of the Pride & Joy Foundation is to prevent suicide and homelessness in the LGBTQ+ community by fostering allyship, empowering advocates, and creating opportunities for LGBTQ+ visibility. 


Established: April 2020, located in Maricopa Country, Arizona but all programming is virtual.

No paid employees, volunteers and LGBTQ+ contractors only. 

2023 focus areas 

    • Keynote Queers (KQ) - a eight-week public speaking workshop that empowers LGBTQ+ individuals with the skills and information they need to move people to action from stage powerfully
    • OUTWrite Authors (OWA) - a six-week intensive designed to drastically increase the chances of getting published as an LGBTQ+ author of nonfiction



  • Leaders for Inclusive Change (LIC) - a six-module online class to empower leaders of diversity clubs, rainbow clubs, etc with the knowledge and skills they need to hold safe space for LGBTQ+ youth.  (added June 2022)



Elena Joy Thurston (she/her), President and volunteer Executive Director 

Elena Joy Thurston is an inspirational LGBTQ speaker, trainer, and founder of the nonprofit Pride and Joy Foundation - which is dedicated to reducing the rate of suicide and homelessness in the LGBTQ community. A Mormon mom of four who lost her marriage, her church, and her community when she came out as a lesbian, Elena’s viral TEDx talk on surviving conversion therapy has been viewed 40,000+ times and landed her media and speaking opportunities with ABC, CBS, FOX, Boston’s First Event, Seacoast Wellness Series, and THRIVE.


Noël McClure (she/her), Vice President

Teacher in the Madison School District.  Parent.  Peace Corps Volunteer.  Extensive school board and community service.


Kristen Kile (she/her), Treasurer

Business bachelor's degree.  Years of work in the accounting world.  Served on several boards including Casting for Recovery, a breast cancer support organization

Caitlin Beasley (She/Her), Board Member

 BA, MA in History. Communications and public relations professional. Trained researcher, narrative developer, and community builder.



Chad Dawson (he/him), Board Member

Chad is a professional engineer with a master's degree in electrical engineering.  As a person of faith, he was a Mormon “Young Men’s President” (essentially equivalent to a youth pastor) and later a Bishop's counselor (equivalent to an assistant pastor).  One result of losing faith was an awakening to important social issues.  Convinced that the LGBTQ+ caPJFe is the civil rights movement of our times, Chad has become an ally with a particular interest in helping young people.  He served as an assistant One-N-Ten LGBTQ+ youth group leader from 2018 to 2019 and has been a Pride and Joy board member since 2021.