November 2nd, 2017

CNN announces the Top 10 Heroes of 2017



Top 10

Anderson Cooper revealed the 2017 Top 10 CNN Heroes this morning on New Day, continuing the network’s annual tradition of recognizing everyday people who are changing the world. Now in its 11th year, the Peabody and Emmy-Award winning campaign celebrates individuals who are making extraordinary contributions to help improve the lives of others.

Joining Anderson Cooper as co-host for the second year is Kelly Ripa. The 11th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute will honor all Top 10 honorees on Sunday, December 17th at 8pm ET live from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Beginning today, voters can select the ‘CNN Hero of the Year’ by voting for the Top 10 CNN Hero who inspires them the most. Supporters can vote daily at by logging in via email or Facebook, as well as on Facebook Messenger by messaging VOTE to the CNN Heroes Facebook page. Viewers can vote up to 10x a day, per method, every day through Tuesday, December 12th, at midnight PT.

Each Top 10 CNN Hero will be awarded $10,000 and the ‘CNN Hero of the Year’ will receive an additional $100,000.

The 2017 Top 10 honorees are:

  • Stan Hays (Pleasant Hill, MO) Hays’ nonprofit, Operation BBQ Relief, has responded to dozens of disasters, providing nearly 1.7 million hot, comforting meals to survivors and first responders.
  • Samir Lakhani (Pittsburgh, PA) Lakhani’s nonprofit, Eco-Soap Bank, recycles discarded bars of soap from hotels in Cambodia, distributing them to people in need and creating jobs. The organization has helped more than 650,000 Cambodians.
  • Jennifer Maddox (Chicago, IL) Police officer Maddox created Future Ties, a nonprofit afterschool and summer program located in the turbulent Parkway Gardens Homes in the South Side of Chicago. Today, her group provides a free safe haven for more than 100 children in grades K-5.
  • Rosie Mashale (Cape Town, South Africa) In Cape Town’s largest township, Mashale and her group, Baphumelele (‘We have progressed’), care for orphaned, abandoned and sick children — many of whom have lost parents to AIDS.
  • Andrew Manzi (Folly Beach, SC) Iraq War veteran Andy Manzi started Warrior Surf, a nonprofit that offers six-week long surf camps and therapy sessions. Since 2015, the foundation has provided free services to 300 veterans and their families.
  • Leslie Morissette (Springvale, ME) Grahamtastic Connection, the nonprofit Morissette started in 1998 after the loss of her son to cancer, has kept 1,000 seriously ill kids connected to their schools and friends by providing free robots, and other technology.
  • Mona Patel (San Antonio, TX) After her own struggles as an amputee, Patel started a nonprofit, San Antonio Amputee Foundation, providing transformational support and resources to more than 1,100 amputees.
  • Khali Sweeney (Detroit, MI) Sweeney’s Detroit nonprofit Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program, mentors around 100 high risk youth weekly. 98% of his student-athletes have gone on to college.
  • Aaron Valencia (Lancaster, CA) Valencia’s Lost Angels Children’s Project offers a free afterschool program with a focus on classic car restoration for at-risk youth.
  • Amy Wright (Wilmington, NC) At Bitty & Beau’s Coffee, located in Wilmington, North Carolina, Wright’s nonprofit, ABLE to WORK USA, offers employment and community for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

As part of their award packages, each Top 10 Hero will also receive free organizational training from the Annenberg Foundation, a leading supporter of nonprofits worldwide. They will participate in a customized version of the Annenberg Alchemy program, which offers leadership development to help strengthen organizations for long-term success. This is the sixth year of CNN’s collaboration with the Annenberg Foundation.

Again this year, CNN has partnered with CrowdRise, part of GoFundMe, to enable people to donate to this year’s honorees. CrowdRise is the world’s largest fundraising platform dedicated exclusively to charitable fundraising. Supporters can make online donations to the Top 10 CNN Heroes nonprofit organizations directly from

In addition to the TV airings, “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” will also stream live for subscribers on December 17th via CNNgo (at and via CNNgo apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Samsung Smart TV and Android TV) and on the CNN mobile apps for iOS and Android.  “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” will also be  available on demand via cable/satellite systems, CNNgo platforms and CNN mobile apps beginning December 18th.

Social media users are encouraged to “like” CNN Heroes on Facebook, follow @CNNHeroes on Twitter, and use hashtag #CNNHeroes. Behind-the-scenes images can be viewed on the CNN Heroes Instagram account.