Hmong Women’s Giving Circle wins philanthropy award


On Thursday, November 3, 2005, the Hmong Women’s Giving Circle received this year’s Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Mission Award in Responsive Philanthropy.

Giving circles are groups of people who care about a particular issue or concern and organize their personal resources to promote change through philanthropy. Collectively, each member deposits money into a group fund for charitable grants to projects that will advance their cause. The winner of this MCN award is the first such group in the country started by Hmong women. The Hmong Women Giving Circle is a fund administrated by the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota—a statewide community foundation championing the social, economic and political equality of women and girls.

“Hmong women have always been at the forefront of change within the community. This award affirms a fundamental shift in the Hmong people to becoming an asset-based community,” says Mala Thao, founder and co-chair of the Hmong Women’s Giving Circle. “The Hmong Women’s Giving Circle is now a vehicle for the Hmong community to think of philanthropy as investing in their community.”

Started in 2004 by a group of 20 women and girls, the Hmong Women’s Giving Circle has granted $15,000 to Hmong community groups to publish the stories of Hmong women and girls marginalized in the community, empower pre-adolescent Hmong girls, and assess the current status of violence against Hmong women in Minnesota.