“My parents had very little wealth of their own, having lost everything in their home country of Laos, and still they gave away much of what they owned to those less fortunate. Philanthropy is a fancy word. I prefer to think of it as creating meaning by giving yourself to causes and people you care about. I serve because I believe that together we can do anything and that alone, we can accomplish very little.”
MayKao is president and CEO of Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, a nonprofit health and human services organization that has served the greater Saint Paul area since 1906.
From an early age, MayKao’s parents taught her the value of giving and what it means to build a strong community. She has devoted her career to improving systems and services for the most vulnerable in society of all ages. Prior to joining the Wilder Foundation, MayKao served as the division director of Adult Services for Ramsey County Human Services and the department director of Resident Services for the Saint Paul Housing Agency.
MayKao’s current board memberships include Twin Cities Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Federal Reserve Bank Board of Minneapolis. MayKao is a also member of the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable.
MayKao has a bachelor’s in psychology from Brown University and a master’s in public affairs from the University of Minnesota’s Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
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Minnesota Philanthropy Partners is a network of foundations, funds and organizations that share knowledge and services to make charitable giving thrive and benefit all Minnesotans. Minnesota Philanthropy Partners supports The Saint Paul Foundation, Minnesota Community Foundation, F. R. Bigelow Foundation, Mardag Foundation and more than 1,700 affiliates across Minnesota.
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