Here Are CNN’s Top 10 ‘Heroes’ of 2013

By Alex Weprin 

CNN has revealed the top 10 “CNN Heroes” for 2013.

The cable news channel will fete the top 10 and name one of them “Hero of the Year” at its annual “CNN Heroes” gala. Anderson Cooper is hosting the event from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, airing Sunday, December 1.

CNN is letting users vote for who they think should be “Hero of the Year” at Each Hero gets a $50,000 grant, with the Hero of the Year getting a $250,000 grant.

“I’ve long admired the CNN Heroes tribute, but even more, the heroes themselves,” said Jeff Zucker, President of CNN Worldwide in a statement. “We are proud to share the stories of these 10 exceptional individuals, and to continue one of CNN’s most important traditions.”

This year’s awards will be the first under the tenure of Zucker at CNN.

More details on each of the “Heroes,” after the jump.



CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, Hosted By Anderson Cooper, Airs Sunday, December 1

Collaboration with the Annenberg Foundation will Continue to Provide Hands-On Support to the 2013 Top 10 Heroes

CNN, the worldwide leader in news, announced today the Top 10 Heroes of 2013, recognizing everyday people who are changing the world. The network also announced that online voting for the “CNN Hero of the Year” opened today, October 10 at 8am ET and will run through Sunday, November 17 at 11:59pm PT. Voters can log on to to cast ballots for their favorite Top 10 Heroes once a day, every day. Votes can also be shared on Facebook and Twitter.

CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute will air on Sunday December 1 at 8:00pm ET, and will be simulcast on CNNI and CNN Espanol. Returning to New York City this year and hosted by Anderson Cooper from the American Museum of Natural History, CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute will honor individuals who are making extraordinary contributions to help improve the lives of others. Since its inception, CNN Heroes has received over 50,000 submissions from more than 100 countries and profiled over 200 heroes.

“I’ve long admired the CNN Heroes tribute, but even more, the heroes themselves. We are proud to share the stories of these 10 exceptional individuals, and to continue one of CNN’s most important traditions,” said Jeff Zucker, President of CNN Worldwide.

This year, CNN continues its collaboration with the Annenberg Foundation, a leading supporter of nonprofits worldwide. As part of the prize package, the Annenberg Foundation will provide all of the 2013 Top 10 Heroes, and selected Heroes from previous years, free organizational training through a customized version of the Annenberg Alchemy program. Alchemy offers practical guidance for nonprofit leaders in fundraising, communications, management of volunteers and strategies to build and keep a strong board of directors.

Each of the Top 10 CNN Heroes will receive a $50,000 grant, and one of the honorees, as voted by fans around the globe, will be named the CNN Hero of the Year, receiving an additional $250,000 grant to further aid their cause. Voting for the 2013 honorees can be done at Voters will also be able to view the honorees’ profiles on the site.

The 2013 honorees are:
· Dale Beatty (Statesville, NC) After Dale Beatty lost his legs in the Iraq War, his community thanked him for his service by helping him build a home. To pay it forward, Beatty co-founded Purple Heart Homes. Since 2008, the nonprofit has modified or helped provide homes for dozens of disabled veterans.

· Georges Bwelle (Yaoundé, Cameroon) For decades, Georges Bwelle watched his father suffer, unable to get the medical attention he needed. Now a doctor himself, Bwelle travels into the jungles of his native Cameroon nearly every weekend, providing free surgery for those who don’t have access to health care.

· Robin Emmons (Charlotte, NC) More than 72,000 people in Charlotte, North Carolina lack access to fresh produce. When Robin Emmons discovered this problem, she turned her backyard into a garden. Since 2008, she has grown more than 26,000 pounds of fruits and vegetables for area residents.

· Danielle Gletow (Trenton, NJ) Danielle Gletow started One Simple Wish, a nonprofit that helps grant the wishes of foster children. Wishes are posted online, and anyone can pay to make a child’s wish come true. Since 2008, the group has helped grant more than 6,500 wishes to children in 42 states.

· Tawanda Jones (Camden, NJ) Tawanda Jones is using dance to empower the youth of Camden, New Jersey, one of the poorest cities in the country. Through Jones’ drill team program, more than 4,000 children have learned discipline, respect and community service — and all of them have graduated high school.

· Richard Nares (San Diego, CA) Richard Nares lost his son to leukemia in 2000. Today, his nonprofit, the Emilio Nares Foundation, provides transportation and support for low-income children battling cancer in San Diego. The group gives more than 2,500 free rides each year.

· Kakenya Ntaiya (Enoosaen, Kenya) Kakenya Ntaiya is inspiring change in her native Kenyan village. After becoming the first woman in the village to attend college in the United States, she returned to open the village’s first primary school for girls. Today, Ntaiya helps provide an education — and much more — to 155 girls.

· Chad Pregracke (East Moline, IL) Chad Pregracke has made it his life’s work to clean up the Mississippi River and other American waterways. Since 1998, about 70,000 volunteers have helped Pregracke and his nonprofit remove more than seven million pounds of garbage from 22 rivers across the country.

· Estella Pyfrom (West Palm Beach, FL) Estella Pyfrom used her life savings to create “Estella’s Brilliant Bus,” a mobile computer lab that provides digital access and tutoring for low-income children and adults in Palm Beach County. Since 2011, thousands of students have benefited from her bus.

· Laura Stachel (Berkeley, CA) Dr. Laura Stachel co-founded We Care Solar to provide a simple, reliable light and power source to health-care facilities in developing countries. Since 2009, more than 250 “solar suitcases” have been helping to save mothers’ and babies’ lives in more than 20 countries.

CNN’s Kelly Flynn is the creator and senior executive producer of the CNN Heroes initiative and CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute. Said Flynn, “I am thrilled that we are returning this year to our original home in New York and that, after seven years, we continue to bring attention to these amazing people and their very important work. All of us at CNN are humbled and heartened by the difference these Heroes are making.”

For the latest information about the Top 10 CNN Heroes, viewers and online users are encouraged to visit CNN Heroes on Facebook, follow @CNNHeroes on Twitter and use the hashtag #CNNHeroes. Additionally, behind-the-scenes CNN Heroes images can be viewed on CNN Heroes’ Instagram account. Get Glue users can check-in to CNN Heroes weekly for limited-edition CNN Heroes stickers.

About The Annenberg Foundation
The Annenberg Foundation is a family foundation that provides funding and support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and globally. Since 1989, it has generously funded programs in education and youth development; arts, culture and humanities; civic and community life; health and human services; and animal services and the environment. In addition, the Foundation and its Board of Directors are directly involved in the community with several projects that expand and complement its grant support to nonprofits. Among them are Annenberg Alchemy,, Annenberg Space for Photography, Explore, GRoW and the Metabolic Studio. The Annenberg Foundation exists to advance public well-being through improved communication. As the principal means of achieving this goal, the Foundation encourages the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.

About CNN Worldwide
CNN Worldwide, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner Company, is the most trusted source for news and information. Its reach extends to nine cable and satellite television networks; one private place-based network; two radio networks; wireless devices around the world; CNN Digital Network, the No. 1 network of news Web sites in the United States; CNN Newsource, the world’s most extensively syndicated news service; and strategic international partnerships within both television and the digital media. For more information, visit