Everyday Greatness: Lending a Hand to Families with Emergency Needs

Simone Gordon, the Black Fairy Godmother, connects families in need with people who can help.

Posted in , Mar 1, 2022

Simone Gordon, known as The Black Fairy Godmothe; photo courtesy Simone Gordon

Who She Is: Simone Gordon, 35, is the founder and CEO of The Black Fairy Godmother Foundation, a New Jersey–based nonprofit that connects families having emergency financial needs with people who want to help, through its website and social media. Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic in March 2020, she and 12 volunteers have enabled donors to provide more than $250,000 in direct aid to tens of thousands of people who need money for food, shelter, medicine, utilities and more. One hundred percent of money given goes to recipients.

What She Does: In 2017, Simone was touched by an e-mail she received from a disabled Maryland woman needing $1,000 in four hours to avoid eviction. Simone verified the request was legitimate and posted the woman’s plea on her Facebook page. With only a few hundred “friends,” she wasn’t expecting much. But in an hour, the money was raised.

“You’re like a fairy that flies around helping people!” the Maryland woman said. Simone liked the sound of that and set up an Instagram account: The Black Fairy Godmother. Every day, she requested help for someone with a confirmed emergency need. People responded by the hundreds, then thousands. “People want to be of service, even when they don’t have much themselves,” she says. “The need is growing, but so is the response.”

Why She Does It: Simone is the single mother of a nonverbal autistic son. “I know what it’s like to be desperate for help and have nowhere to turn,” she says. When her son was younger, she got laid off from her job. Some days she went without eating to have money for her son’s diapers and formula. Still there wasn’t enough.

The agencies she called weren’t set up for emergencies. So she said a prayer and posted her own plea on Facebook. Four women she’d never met responded. One even offered to pay her college tuition. Amazing! Simone was inspired to pay their kindness forward. “I didn’t have money to give,” she says. “But I’d witnessed the power of connection.”

How She Does It: Simone and her volunteers continue to post individual stories of emergency need on The Black Fairy Godmother Instagram. She has also started programs designating money for domestic violence survivors, for food assistance and for other emergency needs. “By having funds available, we’re able to respond immediately to requests,” Simone says.

Every recipient is vetted and must demonstrate proof of need. This May, after Simone graduates with a nursing degree, she plans to work in public health. One of her biggest dreams is to help other struggling single moms go to community college, and she hopes her FairyDust scholarship program will give them a jump start.

How You Can Do It: To see individual requests for emergency donations, go to @theblackfairygodmotherofficial on Instagram. New requests are posted daily. Visit theblackfairygodmother.org to donate to specific programs. You can also read testimonials from people who have been helped and learn about Simone’s latest initiatives. “I don’t want anyone to feel frustrated and alone like I did,” she says. “Every donation has the potential to forever change someone’s life.”

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