Governor Tony Evers visits Appleton and awards grant to support Hmong people

APPLETON — A $1 million grant presented Tuesday will boost suicide prevention programs and economic development for Hmong and other Southeast Asian populations across Wisconsin.

Governor Tony Evers stopped at Long Cheng Market in Appleton to award the grant as part of Wisconsin’s Fair Recovery Grant Program.

The grant recipient, Wisconsin United Coalition of Mutual Assistance Association, is a nonprofit organization that has 12 member organizations across Wisconsinincluding Appleton Fox Valley Hmong American Partnership.

The Equitable Recovery Grant Program awards more than $82 million in grants to support organizations working to increase equity and eliminate disparities in communities across the state that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s part of the nearly $650 million that Evers has earmarked for community building and pandemic recovery efforts across the state.

“We know that throughout the pandemic, some communities and families have seen disproportionate outcomes regarding their health and economic well-being,” Evers said at the press conference. “That’s why I announced very early on, when we learned (about) the funds we will be receiving through the US bailout, that we would be using some of those funds to address some of these disparities to ensuring that every community has the resources and opportunities for recovery.”

Of nearly 400 candidates, 125 organizations received grants of up to $1 million through the Fair Trade Recovery Grant Program.

Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary Designate Kathy Blumenfeld, Appleton Mayor Jake Woodford, Young Cheng Marketplace owner and Appleton Alderman Maiyoua Thao and WUCMAA Executive Director Mang Xiong joined the Governor at the press conference.

The $1 million grant will be distributed among WUCMAA’s 12 member organizations, located in nine Wisconsin counties.

This isn’t the first time the nonprofit has received a grant of this size. In October, Evers awarded WUCMAA another $1 million grant for its Project Resiliency initiative, which provides mental and behavioral health resources to families and individuals in Hmong and South East Asian communities. Wisconsin.

After receiving this grant, WUCMAA applied for the Fair Recovery Grant Program in November.

“When you look at a million dollars divided by 12 organizations, that’s not a lot of money, and so we knew we had to ask for additional programming dollars,” Xiong said.

She said the grant money awarded in October has enabled WUCMAA to hire staff for the resilience project as well as a full-time project manager to oversee the nation-wide initiative. State.

The WUCMAA will use $500,000 of the grant awarded Tuesday to expand staff capacity for the organization’s Resilience Project and suicide prevention programs, as well as provide additional programming dollars, Xiong said. The remaining $500,000 will go to economic development, allowing the organization to develop a culturally appropriate business training program with the Hmong Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce, create a new position of Workforce Development Coordinator full-time partnering with the chamber and expanding its work with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, she said.

At the press conference, speakers said the pandemic has exacerbated existing economic and health challenges in communities across Wisconsin, including the Hmong and Southeast Asian population.

“I think we’ve all seen that COVID-19 has really raised the barriers. And we can’t ignore them anymore,” Xiong said. “It takes all of us working collectively to reduce those barriers. And also, not just to provide resources, but to provide a way to be able to navigate them – really educating our people across the state on how to navigate those resources. and making sure they understand them from a culturally sensitive point of view.”

Contact Kelli Arseneau at (920) 213-3721 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @ArseneauKelli.

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