Keith Jones named President & CEO of AbleLight

 Highly accomplished visionary to take the helm of historic organization

Milwaukee – AbleLight (formerly Bethesda Lutheran Communities), a national nonprofit organization that supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, is pleased to announce it has named Keith Jones as its new President & CEO. Keith officially assumes the role on Jan. 31, 2022, replacing Mike Thirtle, who left the organization last year. Keith will report to the AbleLight board of directors. 

As the top executive of the organization, Jones will lead a team of 1,200 employees over a 10-state region and will be responsible for driving AbleLight towards achieving an aggressive growth and financial strategy. 

“After an extensive and thorough national search, we couldn’t have found a better person to lead AbleLight. We are an organization that is driven by purpose with a relentless focus on how to make the world better and brighter for people with disabilities. That is our top priority, and Keith’s extensive experience and servant-leader approach are perfectly aligned to help our mission grow,” said Cesar Villalpando, Chairperson of AbleLight’s Board of Directors. “Given we have many new and exciting programs under development, along with aggressive plans to grow the impact we make on those with disabilities, Keith’s acumen in growing businesses, financial and operations management, make him a perfect fit.” 

In order to increase its impact on the lives of those with disabilities, AbleLight’s board of directors and leadership team have been focused in recent years on transforming the 117-year-old organization. They have done this by expanding into new and innovative areas, improving its financial performance, and rebuilding its legacy foundation. 

For example, AbleLight Village is a first-of-its-kind residential community that serves independent adults with disabilities as well as people of all abilities, a concept launched in Minnesota and now being replicated across the country. At the same time, AbleLight College is expanding to multiple locations, providing young adults with disabilities a true college experience and an opportunity to learn valuable life and work skills. And AbleLight’s Behavior Supports team is bringing much-needed behavior therapy to people with disabilities in multiple states, often virtually, helping improve their lives and those of their families and care providers. These are just a few of the transformational changes being made, with many more on the horizon. 

Jones brings more than 20 years of leadership experience to this role, having led several highly complex, multi-state health care companies through significant transformation efforts, as well as having consulted with many Fortune 500 companies on accelerating and improving on the execution of strategic plans. Most recently, Jones served as CEO of Blue Sprig Pediatrics, a company he founded in 2017 that offers Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA Therapy) to children with autism. The company has grown to more than 160 locations throughout the country.

“I was beyond impressed with AbleLight’s 117-year history of innovating in the disabilities field and their commitment to putting the people they serve at the center of every decision made,” said Jones. “There is a tremendous opportunity to do so much more for people with disabilities, and AbleLight is a true leader and is well positioned to grow their impact by offering new and innovative services that will help even more people. I am humbled by the opportunity to help others in such a meaningful way.” 

Jones earned his bachelor’s degree from Leeds Beckett University in England and resides with his family in Houston, TX. 


About AbleLight

AbleLight is a national leader in pioneering life-changing services that empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to thrive. Founded in 1904 in Wisconsin as a Christian mission, AbleLight promotes independence and inclusion across the U.S. through comprehensive and individualized supports that include housing, employment, spiritual life and much more. For details, go to, like our Facebook page and follow us on LinkedIn.