Founder and Co-Director, The Smile Trust Inc.
Valencia Gunder or “Vee”, is a self-motivated and driven community leader who has been branded as the “Modern Day Fannie Lou Hamer”. A Miami native, Valencia is the Founder/Co-Director of the Smile Trust Inc., Co-Founder of The Black Collective and National Organizing lead of the RBG New Deal at M4BL Valencia assists many community-based organizations with a variety of strategies around Florida to ensure that the community feels the impact in a positive way. Valencia has led many conversations around climate awareness on topics of sea-level rise, emergency preparedness, climate gentrification, food safety, and housing. She is a part of the Steering Committee for Greater Miami, 100 Resilient Cities and has spoken around the country about her work around Climate Gentrification. She is the founder of the Community Emergency Outreach Center that assisted over 23,000 residents after Hurricane Irma. After Hurricane Dorian, Valencia and the Smile Team expanded their emergency response outreach to the global south with their “One Bahamas” programs, providing over 3 tons of supplies to the islands of Bahamas in less than a week, building a coalition with local Bahamian Orgs and assisting Bahamians that were seeking refuge in South Florida. After experiencing the tragedy of losing her goddaughter Jada Page to gun violence, Valencia worked through her grief and pulled her community together to fight against the status quo, receiving the Soros Justice Fellowship, Valencia created a Rapid Response Toolkit “LIFT” to help decrease Police and inter-community violence in Miami. Valencia, who is a returning citizen, was a leader in passing Amendment 4 in Florida which restored the right to vote to 1.4 million Floridians, and works alongside over 80 Formerly incarcerated Black Women (Dignity Florida) to change legislation to assist with de-carcerating women in the State of Florida.