Wisconsin has the third largest Hmong population in the U.S., and in honor of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) month, we are highlighting FCI borrower, the Hmong American Women’s Association (HAWA). HAWA is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1993 by a group of thirteen community women who had a strong passion to advocate, organize and share the concerns they saw reflected by women in the larger Hmong community.
HAWA was created to provide social services support, health education, literacy development and cultural enrichment programs to Hmong women, other Southeast Asian Women, girls, queer and trans community members and their families within the Milwaukee area.
This safe haven is located at 3030 W. Highland Blvd. Purchasing this building is a historic moment for the organization that has dedicated over 25 years of leadership in the Hmong community.
In addition to providing a space of protection, HAWA has also created a 24/7 hotline and the Community Closet. The Hmong Family Strengthening Helpline can provide support, and referrals to anyone within Wisconsin who is experiencing violence and abuse. The Community Closet provides low-income families with clothing and household needs to support the livelihood of families in the Southeast Asian community.
If you or anyone you know is a victim of violence or abuse, please call the helpline number at 1-877-740-4292.
Being led by a predominately all woman board, HAWA is building HERstory within the Milwaukee community, and FCI is proud to be a part of it.
“This space will allow us to do all the things community members have been asking from us for years! And this will also be a space where we will continue to dream and organize around things that we care about,” said HAWA’s Executive Director Tammie Xiong.
Inspired by the Magnolia Project of New Orleans, the Paj Yeeb Project by HAWA was created in remembrance of the brave Hmong women who lost their lives due to domestic violence homicides from 1990 until now in the state of Wisconsin.
HAWA continues to inspire and foster Hmong women leaders that have made enormous contributions to the Hmong community – not only in Milwaukee, but in WI, across the country and around the world.
Making a Difference
In 2021, FCI partnered with HAWA to purchase their first new building that will help support generations of Hmong families.
Because of FCI’s involvement, HAWA will become a nonprofit that owns its own space, while using it to increase much-needed services; generating additional revenue by providing space to other smaller nonprofits; and being a location for community events. Not only will HAWA get to impact more lives, but FCI continues to push its mission of helping underserved communities.
FCI’s primary goal is to infuse capital into economically underserved communities and neighborhoods using a variety of lending tools. In addition to FCI’s standard nonprofit facility financing offered to HAWA, FCI also offers other tools for financing deals. One of these tools is our New Markets Tax Credits program (NMTC), which allows FCI to finance high-cost, socially-impactful projects via low-cost, low-interest loans with flexible terms and interest-only payments.
Read more on the types of organizations FCI supports through lending and learn how to become an FCI borrower.
Learn more about how to donate to HAWA or the Community Closet.