SOE Award Recipient
2020 • Nonprofit •
“Host a fundraiser before you start a nonprofit. If you can't ask for money or don't enjoy the process invovled in creating a funding source, it's not going to feel good. Also, be authentic and listen to your instincts. So much of what we did was not the traditional nonprofit way and yet because it was authentic it worked well.”
Victoria Strong is a wife, writer, advocate, and mother to three beautiful girls. After her firstborn was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), the #1 genetic killer of young children, she founded the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation (GSF) to do something in the face of nothing.
Since its inception, GSF has funded research around the globe, including a gene replacement therapy that has gone on to transform SMA and other diseases. Victoria worked to get federal legislation passed, newborn and carrier screening federally endorsed, and created the NEVER GIVE UP nonprofit apparel brand to inspire courage and kindness to all those facing hard things in life.
She is now building Gwendolyn's Playground, the first inclusive playground in Santa Barbara County and speaks regularly about the power of kindness and tenacity.