Michele Neff Hernandez, Soaring Spirits

CNN Heroes 2021 campaign

Michele Neff Hernandez lost her husband, Phillip, in 2005 after he was hit by a car while on his evening bike ride. She had no idea how to rebuild, and she realized she needed a community of fellow widows and widowers to learn from and connect with to help her through. In 2008, she created Soaring Spirits, a nonprofit that connects widowed people with each other. In 13 years, she’s reached more than 4 million worldwide through her camps, support groups, pen pal programs and a new virtual program for those widowed due to Covid-19.

Read Michele's story on CNN  
Video: CNN Hero Michele Neff Hernandez 


Soaring Spirits provides research informed programs and a community of hope for any person who has experienced the death of a spouse or partner. The demand for our programs has continued to grow, and every donation we receive will help us ensure that we can provide valuable, life-affirming support for every widowed person who reaches out to us for help.

Soaring Spirits employs a broad definition of the word widow: If you lost a person you planned to spend your life with, and you consider yourself widowed, so do we. We welcome you. Married, divorced, engaged, life-partners, dating, gay, straight, bi- if you lost the love of your life, you are one of us.

Soaring Spirits is an inclusive, secular organization. We provide service to widowed people without regard to race, gender, creed, sexual orientation or national origin. Inclusivity is a core value.

Soaring Spirits focuses on widowed people, but also serve their children and offer support to their family, friends, neighbors and networks. If you are supporting a widowed person, we are here for you too.

Every donation we receive support this effort. YOU can make the difference for a person who will be widowed tomorrow and who would benefit from the resources and support that Soaring Spirits offers.

Donations (17)

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  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 8 mos
  • Anonymous
    • $25 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $100 
    • 2 yrs
  • Sally Carmichael
    • $300 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $250 
    • 2 yrs
See all


Michele Neff Hernandez
Simi Valley, CA
Soaring Spirits International (Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation, Inc.)
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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