Anderson Cooper Reveals Honorees for 17th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute

By Mark Mwachiro 

Screenshot of Anderson Cooper announcing the 2023 CNN Heroes

On Wednesday, Anderson Cooper made a rare in-person appearance on CNN’s morning show CNN This Morning. Cooper was there not to cover a heavy news topic, however, but rather to announce the 10 honorees who will be recognized as heroes at the 17th Annual CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute.

Cooper will once again serve as host of this year’s CNN Heroes (minus Kelly Ripa), which will air live on December 10 at 8 p.m. ET from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

The 2023 Top 10 CNN Heroes are:

Yasmine Arrington, ScholarCHIPS – Washington DC
Growing up, Arrington’s father was in and out of prison. Today, her nonprofit provides funding and a network of support to make college more accessible to students with incarcerated parents.

Osei Boateng, OBK Hope Foundation – Somerset, NJ, and Ghana
Boateng lost his aunt and grandmother to preventable diseases in his native Ghana. Now, having converted a van into a mobile doctor’s office, he delivers essential health care to remote communities where hospitals are often hours away.

Stacey Buckner, Off-Road Outreach – Fayetteville, North Carolina
After suffering a stroke, Buckner found her purpose by helping homeless veterans around her hometown. Driving a Jeep loaded with a shower, laundry, and kitchen, she is serving the men and women who sacrificed so much for their country.

Mike Goldberg, I.CARE – Islamorada, Florida
After seeing the extensive loss of coral reefs during his 20 years living in the Florida Keys, Goldberg co-founded an organization to build them back. He recruits and educates recreational divers to help transplant nursery-grown coral.

Tescha Hawley, Day Eagle Hope Project – Fort Belknap Reservation, Montana
Hawley was a single mom fighting cancer when she had to make regular 400-mile roundtrip journeys from her reservation to the hospital for treatment. Today, she is a lifeline, helping her Native American community access medical care and organic food.

Alvin Irby, Barbershop Books – New York, New York
This former first-grade teacher is helping young Black boys strengthen their literacy while waiting for their haircuts. Irby has built little libraries in barbershops across the country, encouraging kids to read for fun and engage with barbers about stories.

Adam Pearce, Love Your Brain – Burlington, Vermont
After his brother suffered a traumatic brain injury that ended his Olympic snowboarding dreams, Pearce witnessed the transformative power of yoga and meditation in his recovery. Today, he’s built a community that brings hope and healing to others with a TBI and their caregivers.

Estefanía Rebellón, Yes We Can World Foundation – Burbank, California, and Mexico
After a volunteer trip to Tijuana, where the conditions shocked her, Rebellón and her boyfriend transformed a bus into a mobile classroom to offer crucial education to migrant kids ages 3 to 15 living in limbo at the US-Mexico border.

Mama Shu, Avalon Village – Highland Park, Michigan
Mourning the hit-and-run death of her 2-year-old son, she turned her pain into power by transforming her blighted Detroit neighborhood. Her eco-village offers education for kids, business opportunities for women, and beauty the entire community can enjoy.

Dr. Kwane Stewart, Project Street Vet – San Diego, California
Dr. Stewart helps people experiencing homelessness care for their beloved pets, offering judgment-free veterinary treatment on the streets to animals in need.

Each Top 10 CNN Hero will be awarded $10,000, and the CNN Hero of the Year will receive an additional $100,000 to continue their life-changing work.

Viewers, beginning on Wednesday, can support the CNN Hero who inspires them the most by voting for the CNN Hero of the Year. According to CNN, supporters can vote daily at by logging in via email or Facebook. Viewers can vote up to 10 times daily through Tuesday, December 5, at 11:59 p.m. PT. All 10 daily votes can be cast for one hero or divided among favorites, and viewers can double their votes by sharing on social media.

CNN is once again collaborating with the Elevate Prize Foundation, a global nonprofit committed to bringing visibility to the work of changemakers, creating a fanbase for good, and inspiring action internationally. The CNN Hero of the Year will be named an Elevate Prize winner and be awarded a significant unrestricted grant and supportive services. Additionally, all the honorees will receive a generous grant, organizational capacity-building, and ongoing resources to bring visibility to their work and maximize their impact. The Top 10 CNN Heroes will also participate in the foundation’s annual Make Good Famous Summit in Miami, Florida.

CNN has partnered with GoFundMe to enable donations to this year’s honorees and learn more about their stories.