ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Governor Larry Hogan recently held a video conference with eight-year-old Gaitherburg native Cavanaugh Bell, who has garnered local and national recognition for his philanthropic efforts, including the founding of his own food bank, and activism against bullying.

“From the beginning of this pandemic, I have been talking about what it is like to be Maryland Strong, and I can’t think of anybody that is a better example,” said Governor Hogan. “Everything you have done to combat bullying, to spread positivity, and to what you have done to provide food and essentials to communities in need, it is really very special.”

Governor Hogan presented Cavanaugh with an official governor’s citation to celebrate his achievements.

After experiencing bullying at the young age of five, Cavanaugh’s anti-bullying efforts began in January 2019. He founded a nonprofit called Cool and Dope, an acronym for “considering others’ obstacles in life and dish out positive energy,” with a mission to end all bullying worldwide by 2030.

At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Cavanaugh spent his own savings to create care packages with toiletries and groceries for senior citizens in his local community. He and his mother later opened a food pantry called Love is Greater than COVID-19. So far, he has provided over 10,000 people with food and critical COVID supplies, and has expanded his efforts beyond Maryland to serve Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, home to some of the poorest communities in America.

When Cavanaugh grows up, he wants to be a lawmaker or a judge, so he took the opportunity to interview Governor Hogan about his advice for future leaders.