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Tuesday, February 9th, 2016


Bên thềm năm mới

Tôi viết thư này gửi đến các bạn trong lúc mọi người đang háo hức đón tết Bính Thân. “Ông Táo” vừa được tiễn về trời; nhìn hình ảnh từ Việt Nam gửi sang thấy chợ tết thật đông vui; tại vùng San Jose các bánh chưng, dưa món, bao mừng tuổi… đang được bày bán nhiều nơi. Năm nay đối với tôi dường như không khí tết có phần vui hơn mọi năm, có lẽ vì lòng tôi cảm thấy hân hoan khác thường.

Tôi cảm thấy hạnh phúc vì mấy hôm nay VNHelp nhân được rất nhiều email của các sinh viên từ khắp các tinh Cần Thơ, Sài Gòn, Huế, Hà Nội… viết những lời cám ơn và chúc tết; tôi thấy phấn khởi vì một số ân nhân bảo trợ đang chuẩn bị  cùng đi Việt Nam với tôi một tuần sau tết để khánh thành 2 trường học  và nhà máy nước; tôi mừng  vì năm 2016 sẽ đánh dấu 25 năm hoạt động của VNHelp!

Nhìn lại những thành quả tốt đẹp của VNHelp  trong năm 2015 cũng như trong suốt 25 năm qua, tôi xin được bày tỏ lòng biết ơn sâu sắc nhất đến các ân nhân ủng hộ tài chính, các thiện nguyện viện góp sức góp công, các đối tác tại Việt Nam nhiệt tình hợp tác, và các thân hữu luôn khuyến khích tinh thần. Nhờ mỗi người một tay mà VNHelp đã lớn mạnh không ngừng và đã tạo được nhiều thay đổi tích cực trong cuộc sống của người dân nghèo.

Xin thay mặt những người nhận sự trợ giúp của VNHelp tại Việt Nam, kính chúc các bạn năm mới An Khang Thịnh Vượng.

Đỗ Anh Thư, viết trong ngày 24 tết

Welcome the New Year

I am writing this letter while Vietnamese from all over the world are getting ready to welcome Year of the Monkey. As Tết is the most important holiday in Vietnamese culture, through pictures I can feel the festivities on the streets and in every home in Vietnam. In the San Jose area, where VNHelp is located, Vietnamese Americans also keep the tradition; new year food, flowers, and red envelops are displayed in almost every store.  This year I feel Tết is more joyful than previous years. The mood of Tết seems to be more delightful to me personally, and I know exactly why.

I am happy to receive so many emails from our scholarship recipients expressing their gratitude and new year wishes to VNHelp and our donors. I feel encouraged because some VNHelp’s sponsors are preparing to join me in my upcoming working trip in Vietnam. And I am proud to see VNHelp celebrating its 25th anniversary this year; step by step the organization is growing strong and continues to create positive impacts in Vietnam.

Recounting the VNHelp’s achievements in 2015 and in the past 25 years, I am thankful for the support VNHelp has been receiving from so many people. We wouldn’t have accomplished what we set out to do without the generosity of our donors, the dedication of our volunteers, the collaboration of our local partners, and the kind words of support from many friends. Everyone has assisted us in different ways, but all share the same goal to help the needy in Vietnam. Your special ways and generous heart make a beautiful difference. Thank you!

May Year of the Monkey bring you good health, happiness, and prosperity. Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!

Thu Anh Do


What is Giving Tuesday?

Monday, November 25th, 2013


You’ve probably heard of Black Friday and it’s digital cousin Cyber Monday, but have you heard of Giving Tuesday?

Giving Tuesday first began in 2012. It was started by 92Y, a community center and nonprofit organization in New York City. The folks at 92Y observed that in the U.S., there’s a day to celebrate thanksgiving and two whole days to indulge in shopping, but no day to celebrate generosity. Why? Generosity has been a backbone of culture and society, but rarely does it receive the limelight. So Giving Tuesday aims to change that by dedicating a day to giving. It’s a day to encourage one another to give to charity and think about how we can best put our dollars to use helping others in need. Giving Tuesday always falls on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. This year, it is December 3rd, 2013.

At VNHELP, we hope you’ll give to your favorite charities, both ones doing work locally and globally. We hope you’ll consider making a donation to VNHELP as part of your Giving Tuesday plans too. We sincerely appreciate it.

Happy holidays all!

Why I Give

Monday, August 26th, 2013


On June 8, the VNHELP Board of Directors held a special gathering to acknowledge the contribution of a few individuals who have consistently supported our Vietnam programs in the last five years: Mai Dolch, Van-Hanh Nguyen, Golden Pacific Investments LLC, Hop Duc Bui, and the Hitz Foundation. We especially paid tribute to Ms. Mai Dolch for her contributions to our causes since 2007.  Her generosity has changed many thousands of lives in Vietnam.  Nine schools were built for 1,400 students; three health clinics were funded to serve 50,000 patients annually; safe drinking water systems were installed for 37 schools with 10,000 students; and cataract surgeries were performed on 1,000 low-income patients to name a few projects that were made possible by Ms. Dolch.  Mai Dolch shared her thoughts on her philanthropy and what keeps her giving. Her speech is excerpted below.  We hope her message will inspire you as well.


Young Vietnamese Americans Stay Connected To Homeland Through Philanthropy

Monday, July 22nd, 2013


As a diaspora community matures, its relationship to the homeland inevitably grows more tenuous. Second and third generation diaspora members, born overseas, don’t experience their culture the way their parents or grandparents did. Instead, their identities are shaped as much—if not more—by their adoptive culture.

But in an age where multicultural competency is proving to be an invaluable asset, how can we encourage younger generations to retain the culture of their homeland as well? At least one student group has found the answer in philanthropy.

Each year, the Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations (UNAVSA) hosts what they call the “Collective Philanthropy Project” (CPP). It’s a yearlong-fundraising initiative that brings a decidedly democratic twist to philanthropy, and it’s brought in north of $50,000 for select nonprofit organizations.

Before the fundraising commences, students offer various nonprofit organizations the chance to submit a proposal (full disclosure: VNHELP has submitted proposals to CPP in the past), and then caucus and vote on which organizations they want to fundraise for the year. This allows budding philanthropists to get involved at all levels of the philanthropic process, from selection to strategy and development. It also allows students to learn of an array of causes pertinent to their motherland while building that personal tie to their culture.

To learn more about this initiative, I caught up with Lisa Nguyen, a pharmacy student at the Virginia Commonwealth University and this year’s CPP Selection Director.

Q: To get readers caught up to speed, can you give us the lowdown on what UNAVSA and CPP are?

Lisa: UNAVSA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, non-partisan, community-based organization, founded in 2004 consisting of leaders of Vietnamese Student Associations (VSAs) across North America, regional umbrella Vietnamese youth organizations, and young professionals. CPP launched in 2005 as an initiative for Vietnamese-American students and community organizations to collaborate toward a charitable cause. The CPP campaign raises awareness and collectively fundraises for non-profit organizations that serve the broader Vietnamese community. CPP’s goal is to further UNAVSA’s mission of networking, developing leadership, preserving the Vietnamese heritage, and creating a unified national effort to help those in need.

Q: How do you see philanthropy’s role in connecting younger generations to Vietnam?

Lisa: Philanthropy helps Vietnamese-American youth reconnect to Vietnam by reinforcing culture and traditions. The mission of selected nonprofits must relate to helping the Vietnamese community or purpose in some way. Therefore, philanthropic efforts by UNAVSA raise awareness of Vietnam’s current conditions among the younger Vietnamese community and as a result, help connect our generation back to our motherland without actually being there. Through CPP and UNAVSA, we learn more about our past to improve the future.

Q: Do you think there is a difference between how younger generations and how past generations approach philanthropy?

Lisa: It is more difficult for younger generations to truly understand the hardships that our parents and past generations endured. However, we have heard many stories which help reinforce how fortunate we are to be in America, the land of opportunity. Therefore, philanthropy is one way for us to show appreciation for what we have.
Q: Beyond funds CPP has raised for different NGOs, what are some of the other effects of CPP you’ve observed?

I have observed numerous friendships develop, leaders being made, culture and traditions upheld, and generosity arise from around the country. Personally, I have also seen changes in myself. By being heavily involved with CPP and UNAVSA, I have seen personal development where I take pleasure in volunteering my time and efforts for a great and selfless cause. There is no doubt that many other UNAVSA members have also had their eyes opened by being involved with CPP. They have learned to put others before themselves and be empathetic towards the less fortunate.

Q: Five, ten, fifteen years from now, what role do you see philanthropy having in Vietnamese American culture?

Lisa: Philanthropy will maintain a strong presence in the Vietnamese-American culture. There are many Vietnamese Americans who are successful in fields such as business, medicine, engineering, etc. As evidenced by the amount of donations the CPP has received these past 8 years, many of these Vietnamese professionals have no problem giving back. As role models, these charitable professionals create a future cycle of philanthropy by illustrating to younger generations the importance of selflessness. In addition, working together for one Vietnamese-related charitable cause encourages our generation to appreciate what we have and strengthens the bond with our culture.

Q: How can someone contact you if they want to be part of CPP?

Lisa: If you or someone you know would like to donate to this year’s CPP beneficiary, please contact cpp.campaign@unavsa.org for more information. Online donation tools are currently being set up to make donating even easier!

The Weekly News Roundup: Week of January 14

Friday, January 18th, 2013

The weekly news roundup brings you a recap of the latest happenings in Vietnam and international development. This week, we have bears and Buddhist in Vietnam, and jobs and money talk across the globe.