Who We Are

The OK To Be Different Foundation was founded by Jay Toole and Jing Li in 2012.   We are a non-profit, charitable private operating foundation based in the San Francisco Bay Area dedicated to helping teens who face mental, emotional, or behavioral challenges.  Through our programs and activities, we hope to enable these young men and women to develop skills necessary to become independent members of society.


To date, the Foundation has been funded solely by the founders. Neither Jay nor Jing draw any compensation from the foundation.  There are no salaried employees.  In the latest fiscal year, administrative expenses were roughly 10% of total yearly outlay.


  • Jay Toole - M.D. Ph.D., CEO and co-founder

Prior to starting the foundation, Jay was employed at Gilead Sciences for over 20 years where he held roles in Clinical Research and Corporate Development. Dr. Toole received his MD from Stanford University School of Medicine and his PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo. 

  • Jing Li, MBA/MIM, Post-graduate Law Degree, CFO and co-founder

Prior to co-founding the Foundation, Jing had almost 20 years experience working for the biotech/pharmaceutical companies. She grew up in China, where she obtained her Law degree at Fudan University Law School, then went to the US and earned her MBA/MIM from Thunderbird School of Global Management.  

  • Amy Keller Thyberg, Supervising Board Member and Advisor

As a Partner in Arcara Keller, LLC, Ms. Thyberg manages a consulting practice specializing in supporting pharmaceutical companies in the area of medical marketing and communication.  Ms. Thyberg brought to the Foundation 35 years of experience and expertise working in various roles ranging from basic research to global executive positions at UpJohn Company, GlaxoSmithKline and Clinical Care Options.

  • Erika Pantoja Aragon, Research Associate for Ethnic Community Project

Erika is currently an undergraduate student at UC Davis studying Community and Regional Development.  She is passionate about serving her community and is using her language and culture knowledge to help the Foundation gain better understanding of how mental illness is being diagnosed, treated and received in different ethnic groups.