Valencia “Vee” Gunder, a Miami native, is an enthusiastic and driven Community Advocate and Organizer who has officially been branded as “Modern Day Fannie Lou”.
As Founder of Make the Homeless Smile Miami and Atlanta, she assists many community based organizations with a variety of events in South Florida and partners with many Grassroots groups to ensure that a recognizable change is executed. Apart from her organizational involvement, Valencia has hosted and organized many different initiatives and events in Miami, Florida, including the annual I Am Woman Women’s Expo and Hoodweek.
Being an Eco-prenuer at EcoTech Visions, a Green Business Incubator, has enabled Valencia to assist EcoTech Visions with community engagement by helping them relay information regarding opportunities related to Green Jobs and Free Coding Classes that are offered in her community. Although she is not an environmentalist, Valencia has partnered with the CLEO Institution and actively leads the climate awareness discussion in underserved communities.
CLEO Institution has held dozens of community forums that have allowed
residents and local political figures to discuss issues surrounding sea level
rise, emergency preparedness, and climate gentrification. Valencia’s climate
work has been recognized on national platforms, such as The National
Geographic, The Root, and The New York Times. In addition, she has given
presentations on collegiate campuses like, UCLA, Florida International
University and Miami Dade College.
In 2017 with Hurricane Irma headed directly toward Miami, Valencia created the Community Emergency Operations Center alongside her colleagues to respond to under-resourced communities. After the hurricane, Valencia’s initiative resulted in the servicing of over 23,000 residents in the Miami Dade and South Broward counties. These noteworthy disaster relief efforts resulted in her being featured on the BET Hip Hop Awards.
Directly affected by the loss of her goddaughter, Jada Page, due to gun violence, Valencia used her grief to band an entire community together. She is a fearless community leader who is not afraid to confront power. Valencia defended Mr. Charles Kinsey as well as the unarmed caretaker of an autistic child who was shot by an officer of the North Miami Police Department. To combat gun and police violence, Valencia was the first Miamian to be awarded the Soros Justice Fellowship to complete her project, Living In Freedom Together, which is rapid response toolkit to decrease gun and police violence.
As a member of the Executive Steering Committee of 100 Resilient Cities Greater Miami and the Beaches, Valencia has been fighting alongside the residents of her community to guarantee they are treated fairly and never forgotten.
Valencia has been featured on the Root: The Color of Climate and The Rundown with Robin Thede on BET on Climate Gentrification, and been honored by various organizations for her dedication and drive to transform our nation one community at a time.