Homeless, GoFundMe

College Student Who Raised $400K For Unhoused Man In D.C. Returns Money To Donors

Graden posted multiple videos to TikTok explaining why the money had to be refunded.

Sanai Graden went viral for raising over $400,000 for an unhoused man in Washington, D.C. However, the coed had to refund the money to donors after losing touch with its intended recipient.

Graden explained the issue in multiple TikTok videos amassing millions of views. Graden, who attends UC Berkeley in California, temporarily relocated to D.C. for an internship. While walking through its downtown in late January, she met Alonzo Douglas Hebron. She originally went viral after documenting herself obtaining Hebron’s medication as well as a hotel room for the night.


♬ original sound – Sanai Graden (Nai)

“I really did try to help him,” explained Graden in one of the clips. “I tried to transform his whole life. But sometimes, when you want something for somebody, they may not want that for themselves.”

The unlikely duo rose to social media fame. Graden created a GoFundMe to raise money on his behalf. The GoFundMe reached over $400,000 in donations before Graden had to stop the venture.

Prior to this update, his violent past came to light, including his assault on another unhoused woman, according to the Washington Post. Despite this, Graden intended to help the man receive the help he needed to turn his life around. Upon the news breaking, Hebron became more reclusive and harder to get in touch with.

“All I wanted was to get him housing, get him medical care,” she said in another post. “There’s only so much I can do. I cannot force him to do certain things. At the end of the day, he’s grown.”

GoFundMe also released a statement on the botched fundraiser, claiming that the lack of cooperation from Hebron resulted in the refunds.

“Since the fundraiser’s launch, GoFundMe remained fully committed to helping deliver the funds raised to Mr. Hebron, just as the donors intended,” explained the company. “However, without the cooperation of the organizer or the beneficiary, delivering these funds to Mr. Hebron has not been possible.”

Graden also received $25,000 in another fundraiser to support her schooling. She concluded the series of posts by stating she would focus on graduating.

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