2020 National Philanthropy Day Award Honoree

Bo Thao-Urabe
Power builder, community connector, generous giver

Bo_Thao-Urabe.jpegBo Thao-Urabe is a possibilian who focuses on creating community-centered, asset-based solutions, and transforming practices so that there is meaningful change for those who are most impacted by systemic inequities. Having immigrated to the United States as a refugee child after the Secret War in Laos, Bo’s lived experiences have continuously shaped how she creates to ensure communities can fully participate in, contribute to, and shape our democracy. Her extensive leadership experiences include building and leading local, national, and global efforts. 

Currently, she is founder and Executive Director of the Coalition of Asian American Leaders. Previously, she served as Senior Director at Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) leading their social justice philanthropy work. She has also been executive director of several other nonprofits before that. This dynamic change-maker also co-founded the Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, Hmong Women Achieving Together, Sisterhood Laos, RedGreen Rivers, Building Our Future: A Global Campaign, and the Building More Philanthropy with Purpose (BMPP) Giving Circle—also fondly referred to as the “Bad Mo Pho Phamily” among Giving Circle members.

The BMPP Giving Circle combines the philanthropy and vision of Asian American immigrant and refugee families who wish to fuel change in the community. BMPP models its giving circle on the practice of generational giving. The BMPP families cite their immigrant and refugee stories of benefitting from the generosity of those who came before them and understand their role to lead by example for future generations. BMPP Giving Circle has given over $120,000 to over 40 projects since 2013. BMPP is a donor advised fund of the Minneapolis Foundation, where Bo currently serves on the board as chair of the Community Impact Committee. Bo’s board service also currently includes Propel Nonprofits, Drake Bank, and the Dean’s Advisory Board of the College of Education and Human Services at the University of Minnesota.

Bo has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Newsmaker Award from the Minnesota Women's Press, the Impact Award from Hmong National Development, the Courageous Woman Award from Augsburg College, the Wonder Woman of Our Time Award from Minnesota Women's Consortium, the Facing Race Award from The Saint Paul Foundation, and she was named Minnesota Business Magazine’s Real Power 50, Twin Cities Business Magazine’s 100 People to Know, and received a Bush Fellowship in 2019.

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