Doniece Sandoval


Doniece Sandoval

Lavamae, Founder/Chief Executive Officer

Driven by a fierce belief that everyone has a right to dignity and the knowledge that access to showers and sanitation are in serious short supply for the homeless, Doniece was compelled to start Lava Mae.  Lava Mae is a play on the Spanish translation of “wash me”. ​​

During her successful career, Doniece has orchestrated marketing, PR and development for both private and nonprofit organizations including ZERO1: The Art & Technology Network, San Jose Museum of Art, Wilson McHenry Company, Informix, DoubleClick,, McGuire & Company for Coca Cola and ACA Joe among others. Her passion is finding unique solutions to problems that matter to her

Homelessness has been on her radar for quite some time but she was at a loss as to how to truly help—until she passed a young woman on the street crying over and over that she’d never be clean. Lava Mae is Doniece’s answer.

Doniece founded Lava Mae in 2013.  The organization began by converting public transportation buses into showers and toilets on wheels to deliver hygiene and rekindle dignity for the homeless in San Francisco.

Today, they take their “Radical Hospitality”, as Lava Mae describes what they do, to the street by bringing humanity, innovation, and collaboration to the way services are delivered to those moving through homelessness.

They serve a cross-section of people, from those homeless who are actively looking for work, some with one or two jobs who happened to get evicted and can’t yet afford housing in that area and are living in their cars, or are “couch surfing” or living on the streets.  The elderly and young families are part of those they serve too!

Today, Lava Mae uses commercial shower trailers and provides 30 to 50,000 showers a year!  They also have dramatically raised awareness about the lack of access to showers and basic hygiene for the homeless, and inspired new mobile hygiene programs across the U.S. and abroad.

For her efforts, Doniece is one of the nominees for CNN’s Heroes for 2017.

NOTA DEL EDITOR:  Esta historia es acerca de Doniece Sandoval, una residente de la ciudad de San Francisco.  Doniece fundo la organización sin ánimo de lucro Lava Mae, la cual provee camiones de ducha/baños móviles para las personas sin hogar que viven en esa área.  Si quieres saber más de esta fundación, entra en su página web.