Vong Thao Joins Our Team

Vong Thao brings over 15 years of experience to Rooted Philanthropic as Program Officer-Entrepreneurship & Small Business. He joins the team on September 18, 2023. 

Saint Paul, MN; August 28, 2023 – Rooted Philanthropic is excited to announce that Vong Don Thao will be joining the foundation as Program Officer-Entrepreneurship & Small Business on September 18, 2023. 

Vong comes to the foundation with over 15 years of experience in economic development, lending and small business support.  He spent three years as a Senior Project Manager at Planning and Economic Development for the City of Saint Paul, three years with Asian Economic Development Association as Business and Lending Director and Loan Officer and Business Consultant, along with stints at Northwest Farm Credit Services in Seattle Washington, Hmong American Partnership in Saint Paul, Kraft Foods and the USDA. Since January 2021 Vong has served as an Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Brooklyn Center, MN, where he managed grants and loan funds and assisted businesses with redevelopment projects and financing.

Vong has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Washington and an MBA from the City University of Seattle.  He also has an Economic Development Financial Professional Certification from the National Development Council. He was named an Emerging Brooklyn Center Leadership Fellow in 2022 and completed the Shannon Leadership Institute in 2022.

“We are very fortunate to bring someone with Vong’s extensive skills and experience into this new role at Rooted Philanthropic, where he’ll build out our strategies to support and grow the entrepreneurship and small business ecosystem on the East Side of Saint Paul,” said Patrick Troska, Executive Director.  “The East Side is ripe with opportunity.  Vong’s commitment to the East Side communities and his keen knowledge of the stakeholders and business owners make him the absolute right person to develop and expand this work.”

“It’s an incredible opportunity to be working in an area where I once lived, shopped, and played,” said Vong Thao. “These are exciting times on the East Side of Saint Paul.  The diversity on the East Side is just incredible!  I’m excited to serve the entrepreneur and small business community on the East Side!”

Beginning on Tuesday September 19, 2023, Vong can be reached at [email protected] or 651-316-4430.

About Rooted Philanthropic:  Originally founded in 2014 by Shannon Runyon and Chuck Runyon, Rooted Philanthropic focuses on Saint Paul’s East Side neighborhoods. The foundation makes grants and engages in other philanthropic activities in support of its mission:  Rooted Philanthropic supports the people of Saint Paul’s East Side communities to unlock their potential by investing in their capacity, growth, and innovation. In 2023, the foundation will make grants of $2 million is support of its four funding pillars: Entrepreneurship & Small Business Support, Education, Health & Wellness, and Empowering Women. An Advisory Board of five community leaders works with the staff and Board of Directors on strategy, evaluation/impact, and grantmaking.  Since inception in 2014, the foundation has assets and distributions of over $10 million, with the founders contributing annually to the asset base. Rooted Philanthropic is intended to be a time-limited foundation, intentionally sun setting in 25 years, December 31, 2048.

For more information, please contact Patrick Troska, Executive Director, at [email protected].