Model & Strategy
LavaMae X is a nonprofit accelerator that’s building a worldwide network of providers who take critical services to the street, where the unhoused need them most. With an approach rooted in Radical Hospitality®—meeting people, wherever they are, with extraordinary care—LavaMae X is changing the way the world sees and serves our unhoused neighbors, and helps restore dignity, rekindle optimism and fuel a sense of opportunity for people experiencing homelessness.
LavaMae X evolved from Lava Mae, the nonprofit innovator of mobile hygiene services. The organization restructured in January 2020 in response to rising interest in replicating its services globally, proving the massive need for street-based services and training others to deliver Radical Hospitality.
LavaMae X aims to help communities develop programs that serve 100,000 unhoused individuals around the globe by 2024. In order to succeed, LavaMae X offers replicators tools such as the buildIt online platform, a free DIY toolkit and forum that helps anyone, anywhere launch a mobile hygiene program. The kit covers everything from getting started to finding funders to taking Radical Hospitality to the street. Additionally, LavaMae X provides hands-on training for effectively operating a mobile hygiene service and safely managing guest behavior. When possible, it connects replicators to resources, including funding opportunities.
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.
Since its launch, the organization has fielded more than 4,320 inquiries from city agencies, nonprofits, governments, refugee aid organizations and individuals in 38 countries seeking to provide similar services—and has already trained, directly advised or inspired more than 170 programs in 148 communities in 11 countries to create mobile hygiene services based on LavaMae X–designed programs.
LavaMae X 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
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