Model & Strategy
Lava Mae’s mission is to deliver dignity and unlock opportunity for those experiencing homelessness — one mobile shower at a time. Lava Mae is transforming decommissioned San Francisco MUNI buses into bathrooms on wheels. On board every bus are two private pods each with a shower, toilet, sink, and changing area.
Lava Mae works closely with local government and operates in partnership with a range of nonprofits serving the homeless ranging from drop-in centers and health clinics to post-probation re-entry programs. In order to provide 360-degree support that meets homeless individuals where they are, Lava Mae facilitates Pop Up Care Villages, which convene a range of mobile service providers in the same at the same time to deliver holistic care.
Doniece Sandoval was compelled to start Lava Mae based on a fierce belief that everyone has a right to dignity, which brings opportunity and the knowledge that access to showers and sanitation are in serious short supply for the homeless. For her work, she received the Innovation Award at the 2015 Bank of the West Philanthropy Awards.
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, Toysrus.com, McGuire & Company for Coca Cola and ACA Joe among others. Her passion is finding unique solutions to problems that matter to her.
Lava Mae makes it possible for homeless individuals to gain employment and maintain health and provides a place for those who are disabled to find bathrooms that meet their needs.
Since launching in June 2014, Lava Mae has provided over 15,00 showers to 3,000 people. Through its Pop-Up Care Village Pilot, Lava Mae has served another 1,200 with 300 volunteers and 40 service partners.
Lava Mae News
Doniece Sandoval Receives James Irvine Foundation Leadership AwardThe James Irvine Foundation Leadership Awards recognize and support individuals who are advancing innovative and effective solutions to significant state issues. The 2017 recipients are…Feb 2017
Doniece Sandoval Named KIND People Grand Prize WinnerIn early 2016, The KIND Foundation opened a call for nominations for KIND People – individuals transforming their communities through kindness. They received nearly 5,000 stories…Dec 2016
Lava Mae Hosts Successful First Pop-Up Care Village in San FranciscoWithin view of the mayor’s balcony at City Hall last week was a display of fast-moving, innovative, entrepreneurial work about homelessness. At the Pop-Up Care…Apr 2016
Watch: These City Buses Are Now Showers for the Homeless in San FranciscoWatch how Lava Mae is turning retired muni buses in San Francisco into showers on wheels to provide hygiene, dignity and hope to the homeless. Watch…Oct 2015
Lava Mae Providing Showers for the Homeless is Rolling AlongLava Mae, the nonprofit that turns old Muni buses into shower stalls to be used by homeless people in San Francisco, has its second bus…Sep 2015
NYT Features Lava Mae's Efforts to Convert Buses into Showers for the HomelessThere are thousands of homeless people in San Francisco and scant access to public bathrooms. We associate sanitation problems with the Third World, not the…Jan 2015