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-Photos courtesy of Seexeng Lee
Lao Family Community has been a focal point for self-help and support for the Hmong in Minnesota for more than 30 years. Established as a non-profit mutual assistance association in 1977, Lao Family Community has helped thousands of Hmong who have made Minnesota their home since the end of the Vietnam War.
Responding to the unique needs of Hmong individuals and families, Lao Family's bilingual and bicultural programs strive to empower the Hmong to meet the many challenges of modern American life within a context that honors and preserves their traditions, values, and heritage. Lao Family is quite different from other refugee organizations in that it is a grassroots organization. When the Hmong community faces a crisis and suffers, Lao Family does, too. When the Hmong community is rewarded with peace, Lao Family is, too.
Financial support from government, foundations, and corporations makes possible the range of programming that Lao Family offers to the Hmong and others in the refugee community. In the delivery of services, Lao Family collaborates with numerous agencies and organizations, both public and private.
Today, with strength, determination, and the support of agencies like Lao Family Community, the Hmong have become a vital part of our community.
Lao Family Community of Minnesota, Inc. is a non-profit mutual assistance association founded in 1977 as the Hmong Association of Minnesota. Its founders were Hmong refugees from the highlands of Laos. All had held leadership positions in either the Royal Lao Army or the CIA’s clandestine operations in Laos, fighting the Communist take-over of the country during the Vietnam War. The organization received its first funding from public and private sources in 1980 and incorporated under its current name in 1983.
Lao Family’s governance is unique among nonprofits in the U.S. Its Board of Directors consists of 11 individuals, whom have been nominated and elected for 4-year terms by Lao Family’s adult membership. They are chosen for their expertise in a specific field relating to Lao Family's programming and operations. A network of some 60 family group leaders is an invaluable resource in linking Lao Family to Minnesota’s growing Hmong population.