Alumni Changemakers: Cuong Quy Huynh
Creating Opportunities for Youth and Adults From Underserved Populations
To honor our 40 years, we're celebrating our most valuable resource - our alumni - through 40 profiles highlighting their leadership. Alumnus Cuong Quy Huynh completed the Junior Summer Institute at Princeton University in 1994.
Cuong embodies the values of service, commitment, and leadership. Growing up in an impoverished socio-economic background as a Vietnamese refugee, he dedicated himself to empowering others in similar situations. After receiving his M.P.P. in Public Policy and Finance from the University of Chicago as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, he went on to receive his J.D. in Law from the University of California Hastings College of Law as a Thurgood Marshall Fellow. Cuong also received a certification from Harvard University School of Education for “Educating Immigrant Students: Attending to Individuals and their Communities".
Upon graduation, he held the position of Legislative/Congressional Fellow for the U.S. Senate Finance Committee where he did research and wrote memoranda on a variety of tax and trade issues. From there, he got selected as a Fellow at the International Career Advancement Program while also remaining committed to his work as an Ambassador at the Heart of America Foundation where he encouraged youth potential and community engagement through literacy and reading for over 11 years.
All of this took place while Cuong was working as a Senior Policy and Program Analyst for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). In this role, he offered his leadership, communication, and organization skills to foster healthy public relations and understanding of policies and issues. After 11 years at NASA, his service continued as a National Racial Equity and Healing Fellow for W.K. Kellogg Foundation where he used his time and skillset to improve the lives of youth, especially those coming from low-wealth backgrounds, in marginalized communities.
His commitment to impoverished youth also led him to start the Enlightened Initiative, a nonprofit that supports immigrant and refugee youth in developing both STEAM and servant leadership skills which were further complemented by attending a Leadership Camp held in Washington, D.C. As President and Founder of the organization, he continues to successfully raise thousands of dollars to fund this experience for the youth.
Cuong outlines the life of these youth in his first published book: God’s Crucible: We Who Dream of a Better Life – Stories of Hope by Refugee and Immigrant Youth and is working on his second book Leading Youth with a Servant’s Heart aimed at supporting mentors of these youth.
“I want to share a positive narrative about the hardworking refugee and immigrant youth and their families, trying to survive in a new country and culture. That is, I want to let the youth know that they do make a positive impactful difference when they serve and care about others in their community.”
His latest endeavor as Co-Founder, General Manager, and Treasurer of Rende Progress Capital (RPC) is to provide funds and technical assistance to small businesses that experience barriers to traditional sources of funding due to bias and racial inequity which include women, minority, and immigrant entrepreneurs. The organization has preserved hundreds of jobs by providing 30 small business loans to the entrepreneurs and has deployed over $550,000 to the small business owners.
His servant leadership and unending dedication have earned him his latest honor as a Council on Legal Education (CLEO), Inc. EDGE Award as a “Greater Equality” Honoree.
“If we invest in immigrant and refugee youth, they will remember and they will give back to their society.”
Cuong is helping to end the racial wealth gap from a number of different entry points. He is empowering immigrant and refugee youth, who like himself, are impoverished while also advancing equity among excluded entrepreneurs of color by offering tools, services, and funding to qualify and strengthen their contribution to society.
Thank you, Cuong, for your commitment to potential and for bringing servant leadership and opportunity to underserved populations! By offering a bright future to all, you are positively impacting lives and ushering in a world that is both diverse and prosperous.
Read more Changemaker profiles here!