Hmong Leaders Inspired to Give
ThaoMee Xiong’s venture into fundraising began with a talk by Wilder President and CEO MayKao Y. Hang. ThaoMee had invited MayKao, the first Hmong-American president at Wilder, to serve as keynote speaker for a graduation event of the Vue Family of Minnesota, which works to strengthen families through cultural, social and educational activities.
Afterward, ThaoMee offered to organize a fundraiser for Wilder in honor of MayKao’s leadership. ThaoMee and her husband, Patrick Vue, invited a smaller group of the Vue Family to a fundraiser at their home. ThaoMee hoped to raise about $2,000 at the event — and raised double that amount.
That intimate setting has transformed into an annual event held at Wilder Center and organized by ThaoMee, her husband, and Kao Ly Ilean Her, a longtime friend of MayKao. The event helps Hmong professionals and others build their networks, learn about Wilder’s culturally responsive programs and services, and make financial contributions. It’s also a way for ThaoMee and others to support MayKao’s leadership. “It creates pathways for others to rise up,” ThaoMee says.
And, says Kao Ly, it’s one way to create a deeper and more meaningful relationship between Wilder and the Hmong community. “We are a growing demographic in the East Metro and we have a responsibility to take care of not just ourselves, but to take care of all of our communities,” she says. “It's a big challenge, but with efforts like this one, we are meeting that challenge.”
Photo left to right: Patrick Vue, ThaoMee Xiong, MayKao Y. Hang and Kao Ly Ilean Her at the May 2017 Hmong Professionals Fundraiser