Patrick Vue, ThaoMee Xiong, MayKao Y. Hang and Kao Ly Ilean Her at the May 2017 Hmong Professionals Fundraiser at Wilder.

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