St. Paul, MN — In recognition of winning a 2019 Bush Prize for Community Innovation, this grant will advance the organization's charitable mission of empowering low-income communities to overcome racial inequities and generational poverty
Hmong American Partnership (HAP) drives equity and prosperity for immigrants and refugees through a rare combination of social services and enterprises. A fierce entrepreneurial spirit fuels HAP's ever-evolving programs and business ventures.
HAP's focus has grown from refugee resettlement and youth gang-related violence programming to include workforce development, homeownership, micro-enterprise lending, culturally relevant youth education, workforce development and, most recently, health and wellness programming.
When businesses, workers and farmers came to HAP with overlapping concerns, the organization convened the community to discuss a solution that could work for all three sectors. HAP created a social enterprise focused on the high-demand hospitality industry that trains immigrants and refugees for critically needed positions in businesses and provides Hmong farmers with a new outlet to sell their produce. HAP also led the transformation of Community School of Excellence, developing a model for the charter school to select effective teachers and engage parents more successfully in their children's education.
HAP addresses problems by beginning with a solution. When it observed the struggles its clients had with transportation, HAP leaders asked, what would it look like if transportation were available to all in the community? The organization developed a bus fleet that provides reliable transportation and jobs for Hmong people, and like other HAP enterprises, generates significant revenue that is reinvested in the community.