Inspired Giving: A Mother-Daughter Duo Carry On A Family Legacy

By Michael Hannuksela



This spring, the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation sat down with Bee and her daughter Sharon to talk about their family’s longstanding tradition of community and philanthropy.

Foundation: How did philanthropy and giving become a part of your family’s story?

Bee: Our cultural background is very naturally giving. I grew up in Laos, and the concept of giving is everywhere. If you want anything, you just have to ask.

Sharon: My father, who drove a lot of the philosophy in our family, grew up with very little but he shared what little he had. He always thought about others. Growing up, his father gave him a bus fare to go to school, because he was very fortunate to get into the university. And instead of using it for the bus fare, he would buy drinks for his friends, and they would all walk to the school together, because he would rather have that community than have the luxury of taking a bus. He was always raised with the value of people above resources. It’s been something that our whole family has adopted.

We Support Your Giving Goals

The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation believes in nurturing community-led solutions, and our donors feel the same. This approach allows for a deeper understanding of regional needs, leading to solutions that are sustainable, effective and culturally informed.

Foundation: Why did you decide to partner with the Foundation for your giving?

Bee: We’d just been giving money to the church and to individuals, but my daughter Ilean said to us, “You know, your impact could go further with the Foundation.” She was aware of the tax benefits. She wanted us to have a bigger vision for our giving. That’s how we started our fund in 2009.

Sharon: My father worked in elder care for 30 years, and he and my mother always knew they wanted to do more for the community. The Hmong Elders Center offers culturally appropriate elder daycare, and it’s also a community space. We have a lot of partnerships, there was an agricultural group here, and we would do seed programs, in the summer we had a block party and gave out ice cream to voters. We want it to be a welcoming center, not just for Hmong people, but for anyone.

Helping families achieve their giving goals is the whole reason we’re here. When you work with us, you have a partner who makes your goals our goals, guides you every step of the way, and gives you a local partner.

We Work With You

Each donor works with a dedicated philanthropic advisor, and together we create a custom giving plan.

Sharon: My mom and I agree that the Foundation has lasting impact, and they have the same values we do.

Bee: Yes, and a fund is a more lasting way to support the community. We love helping the community that we live in. We feel honored when we get to be part of something that’s as profoundly generous as the Foundation.

To learn more about starting your own fund, reach out to us at Where your generosity meets purpose.

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