Valencia Gunder

Founder, Make the Homeless Smile

Activist and organizer Valencia Gunder believes that homelessness is not only poverty, but also exclusion from the life of the community. Gunder is a Miami native of Bahamian decent, and grew up in Liberty City.

Gunder is the founder of Make the Homeless Smile, a nonprofit offering meals, showers, haircuts, and other basic but often unavailable services to homeless individuals in Miami and Atlanta. Gunder also works with organizations such as the New Florida Majority in pursuit of a better life for South Floridians.

In 2017, Gunder made headlines in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, when the Community Emergency Operation Center (CEOC), a relief service she organized during the leadup to the storm, was able to deliver supplies and support to 18 low-income communities before any other organization reached them.