Announcing Our First Annual 2019 GoFundMe Community-Nominated Heroes

The individuals behind these five fundraisers will be honored at a live celebration on November 14 in San Francisco.

GoFundMe Stories
Published in
5 min readSep 16, 2019


The GoFundMe Heroes program celebrates people who are making a positive impact in their neighborhoods, communities, and beyond. For the first time, we asked the GoFundMe community to nominate someone they believe is a GoFundMe Hero.

The GoFundMe community answered our call, sending in thousands of nominations from across the country. Community members shared stories about those who are helping and inspiring others to make a difference.

We’re honored to announce the GoFundMe Community-Nominated Heroes and share their stories at the GoFundMe Heroes Celebration on November 14 in San Francisco. The people behind these five fundraisers will have the opportunity to spread awareness for their causes in front of a live audience and inspire others to take action in their community.

You can win the chance to attend and hear their stories live by viewing our latest post on Instagram. For those of you who prefer to watch from the comfort of your own home, we’re inviting everyone to join the celebration and watch through our livestream beginning at 6:00 PST on November 14.

The GoFundMe Community-Nominated Heroes represent a diversity of causes from across the country that we see affecting people every day on the platform — ranging from helping underserved communities to bringing joy to those who need it most.

Introducing our GoFundMe Community-Nominated Heroes:

Spreading Compassion at the Border — Michael Benavides & Sergio Cordova

As residents of Brownsville, a Texas border town, Michael and Sergio quickly took action to help asylum seekers who had no home, no country, no belongings — nothing. #TeamBrownsville began as a small group of friends serving meals at the international bridge, where many hungry immigrants arrive.

Now they’re helping those at Brownsville port of entry and the bus station by providing over 500 daily meals, shelter, clothing, and legal and medical assistance. Most importantly? They’re providing compassion and love throughout an often traumatic experience. #TeamBrownsville is now a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the help of volunteers and donors from around the globe.

Serving Flint from 600 Miles Away — Lance Cooper

Lance is a community activist in Richmond, VA. From more than 600 miles away, he watched as residents of Flint, MI saw their showers, faucets, and taps turn to brown, polluted water. He knew he had to take action. As the water crisis made headlines, he enlisted the help of people in his community. The RVA Flint: #SaveFlintChallenge encourages people in the Richmond area and around the world to stay actively involved in supplying the residents of Flint with clean drinking water.

The #SaveFlintChallenge has distributed more than 350,000 bottles of water and partners with Little Miss Flint’s Clean Water Fund to help the people of Flint. Long after the media attention has faded, Lance continues to build awareness and keep the world informed of this crisis.

Bringing Holiday Cheer to Cancer Fighters — Daniel Alvarado

16-year-old Daniel Alvarado saw first-hand how a simple toy can bring happiness to a child, especially those who are fighting for their lives against cancer. Ten years ago, he watched his older brother, Diego, start his battle with cancer at age 14. Daniel knew just how to bring a smile to his face, and to many other kids fighting cancer — with a new toy.

Daniel started Cancer Fighters to the Rescue Toy Drive to bring a toy, and joy, to every kid in need. Though his brother lost the fight with cancer, his inspiration lives on — the group has donated more than 9,000 toys to kids during the holidays. Now in his 10th year of running Cancer Fighters to the Rescue Toy Drive, Daniel hopes to keep his brother’s spirit alive and surpass toy donations this holiday season.

Turning Houses into Homes for Veterans — Charlie Hyatt

Charlie Hyatt is a dedicated volunteer and advocate for homeless veterans in the Cleveland, OH area. Over eight years ago, Charlie was volunteering at a local VFW when she met a homeless vet who was about to move into a new apartment of his own. He was delighted but also apprehensive about the move, as he didn’t have any furniture or household goods to make his new place a home.

Charlie knew she needed to take action, so she formed Help for Heroes to provide veterans with furniture and other household products not covered by government programs. The non-profit organization has turned houses into homes for over 400 veterans.

Empowering Black Women to Advocate for Wellness — Lisa Peyton Caire

Thirteen years ago, Lisa Peyton Caire’s mother died at the age of 64 from congestive heart failure in a tiny dimly lit hospital room. Her death reflects a disturbing and persistent trend in communities across the United States: Black women die every day at disproportionate rates and at far younger ages than peers, from largely preventable illnesses. This alarming realization became the powerful catalyst that motivated Lisa to create change for women in her community of Madison, WI.

Lisa has been an advocate for black women’s wellness and empowering them to transform their health and disrupt the disparities. This year, Lisa took another bold step forward in advancing the health of black women in Dane County by opening the first Black Women’s Health & Wellness Center, creating a community where local women can get educated on chronic disease and access mental health services and fitness classes.