Seattle University

Most Outstanding Philanthropic Program: Seattle University’s Vietnamese Student Association (SUVSA)

Provide a detailed description of the philanthropic program and the population it served. Details MUST include: date of event, number of participants, program purpose (goals, objectives, etc.), use of resources (finances, community support, etc.), marketing techniques and evaluation processes.

SUVSA’s 13th Annual Culture Show Xuân happened on May 12th, 2017 with over 80 performers and volunteers supporting the sold-out show with 320 in the audience. This year, we have decided to donate all our proceeds to the Pacific Links Foundation. Pacific Links Foundation (“Vòng Tay Thái Bình”) is a US-based nonprofit organization with 10+ years of experience in human trafficking prevention with school-based, factory-based and community-based programs. Human trafficking is a growing $150 billion a year business, enslaving over 40 million women, children and men in forced sexual and forced labor exploitation. The chance of becoming enslaved in the Asia Pacific region is twice as high compared to developed countries. In Vietnam, it is a source country for cross-border sex and labor trafficking. Therefore, this charity’s ultimate goal is to prevent trafficking by empowering the most vulnerable populations and to break the cycle of human trafficking by investing comprehensively in at-risk youth to prevent trafficking and in survivors to help them build new lives.

All finances went towards covering the costs of the show: food, decorations, costumes, and tech. All committees were working off a minimal budget to be able to raise the greatest amount of money possible. 100% of our proceeds for the show — from ticket sales, donations, and raffles — were donated to this year’s CPP, none of it going back to the club.

The directors of the show recruited members in the club to step up as leaders to serve as the committee so that they could have experience leadership roles in the club and become more involved in the show. We also refined our fundraising techniques to become more sustainable financially in the future.

Marketing was done through Facebook, Eventbrite, and word of mouth. By inviting family, friends, on-campus organizations, and other universities in the Northwest region, we were able to sell out the show.

What motivated the organization to host the philanthropic program? What efforts were used to motivate and involve the organization’s members?

This year, SUVSA has decided to give all its profits to the Pacific Links Foundation. It is an international public charity that, for the past 18 years, has been on the forefront of empowering women who have been subjected to human-trafficking to become leaders towards fostering social change in their respective communities. To this day, the foundation constitutes a diverse group of volunteers- ranging in age and backgrounds- that together all share common interest in improving the lives of people in the Pacific Rim region. This, in turn, has allowed the foundation to grow in professional expertise and has given it the ability to continue its philanthropic work of swerving the Vietnamese communities in both Vietnam and the United States. It is a noble cause that every member of our club supports wholeheartedly. This charity not only helps benefit those that lack the resources to improve their current situations, but its message also informs the community back here at home about the luxuries and civil rights we often take for granted, so therefore that is why SUVSA has decided to choose to donate all its profits to this organization.

In terms of motivating and involving our members within our club, we constantly reminded them to explain how Xuan is very unique cultural show because all its profits goes towards the charity. As we tell our club members, they begin to have appreciation and begin to tell their friends and family to attend our show due to our ultimate cause to help donate to the charity.

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How did the organization overcome any challenges that arose while planning and implementing the cultural program? What was the outcome of the program in terms of goals met, successes, and failures?

One of our biggest challenges this year was timing and scheduling. With rising costs of tuition and living, virtually all members of our club were balancing multiple jobs and other activities on top of school work and VSA. In order to maximize efficiency, the Xuan Directors moved to decrease role ambiguity as in previous years by setting clear expectations and deadlines for each committee that were feasible for the committees and acknowledged their positions as students. In this realization, committee members worked as a single unit, stepping up to support others in their work even if it were not detailed in their specific job descriptions. By working as one family, the committee was able to execute all goals and shared responsibilities in successes and failures despite all the obstacles that we had encountered.

Another challenge that we faced was our budget this year. Every year, our cultural show earns most of our money by working at the University of Washington concession stands. Normally we sign up for a couple of dates that our committee would be most available to work. However, this year there was a new supervisor, and she did not contact us for any potential concession dates. So therefore, we were really tight on our budget. We had to cut many of the budgets of each committee to avoid going over-budget and ultimately not breaking even with the profits that we made, which contributes to one of our failures.

Furthermore, it was very important to create an environment for members, officers, and committees to provide creative agency. Providing support on checking in with each other created a motivational environment that frees them rather than traps them under a pile of responsibility as they start to prepare for the show. This year, we have raised $4,000 in profit, which will all be donated to the Pacific Links Foundation. We have raised that much money through ticket sales, raffle sales, donations, and sales from our side store and dessert dash. At our side store, we sold Pandan waffles, Vietnamese coffee, Vietnamese jello, and more!

Check Out the 2018 Nominees!

Nominations for the 2018 VSA Awards are now available! Click below to view the nominees.

View the 2018 Nominees!