Meet Hoan Huynh
Hoan is a refugee, an innovator, a social impact investment professional, an entrepreneur, and a human rights advocate.
Hoan found his home and place of belonging in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago.
Hoan was a part of the Innovation and Investments Team at Chicago Beyond where he formed relationships with local organizations to invest time and resources in creating a more equitable future for Chicago's youth. He worked on education, youth safety, community development, and health issues to create holistic solutions to social injustices here in Chicago.
Investing in Justice
Since moving to Chicago, Hoan has worked with local organizations, community leaders, and local government to address and solve social justice and economic issues affecting Chicago. Hoan has led work with community leaders to reduce gun violence, helped create job opportunities for young people, and supported work to develop trauma-informed policies with Chicago Public Schools to ensure schools understand student trauma and create safer learning environments. He also led infrastructure work to launch Chicago’s Home for Social Innovation, a center where social entrepreneurs, community experts, and technology professionals collaborate to pilot new initiatives to better impact Chicagoans.
Recently, he led grassroots initiatives to get communities most left behind immediate Covid-19 relief via food and essential products throughout the pandemic. Hoan also worked to get LGBTQ+ youth and individuals experiencing homelessness the resources they need to survive this pandemic, while working alongside community members on mutual aid efforts. Hoan has led investments to get community leaders resources to support students and prioritize mental health services.
Through his work at Chicago Beyond, Hoan led investments of millions of dollars directly into communities and ensured that funding is set up to create long-lasting change and support programs for years to come. He knows what it takes to make change in Chicago and has first-hand experience working with government officials and communities to make Chicago a more equal city.
Community work does not end with the workday for Hoan. Coming from a refugee family, he understands what it means to lose everything and depend on the goodwill of others. Hoan’s parents always encouraged him to pay that kindness forward to the communities around him, because they knew what it felt like to have the rug ripped out from under them.
In recent years Hoan has worked to end homelessness for women in the Uptown area with a local nonprofit. His Chinese mother experienced homelessness in Vietnam and Hoan firmly believes that access to housing is a basic right that so many vulnerable groups struggle to obtain.
Hoan has always been involved with Chicago’s AAPI community through the Chinese Mutual Aid Association, where he helped provide access for immigrant and refugee communities to social services, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice, where he is part of a working group on immigrants’ rights. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, helping to promote AAPI interests and policy issues affecting the AAPI community.
The COVID-19 pandemic hurt Asian businesses particularly hard with closures and the anti-Asian sentiment perpetuated by the former President. Hoan organized with a group of other community leaders to start Celebrate Argyle in an effort to revive and support local businesses. Hoan used his entrepreneurial background and mobilized volunteers to help small businesses secure millions of dollars in federal funding, while the group highlighted local restaurants to get customers in the door.
Hoan has also done work with the American Legion to honor U.S. Veterans, like his father, who have risked so much to protect our freedom. Hoan has routinely volunteered with Veteran groups to honor their sacrifices and supported efforts to get them the resources they deserve.
Hoan was born on a refugee base in Vietnam to Vietnamese-Chinese parents. His parents sought shelter from retaliation after his father fought for freedom alongside American forces during the Vietnam War. His family received asylum in the United States and moved to the United States in the early 1990s.
Hoan is one of six children and grew up always being aware of how his refugee family was different from so many in the community around him.
Through his parents’ sacrifices, the guidance of teachers, scholarships, work-study, and student loans, Hoan graduated from Yale University with a bachelor's degree, with honors. He studied War and Insecurity Studies at the University of Cambridge and holds a master’s degree in Policy and Management from Harvard University, with additional graduate coursework at the University of Chicago.
Before Hoan began working in social impact investments at Chicago Beyond, he worked in technology innovation and is the former CEO and Co-founder of Tifyn, a technology company that created jobs for women, immigrants, and working families. Prior to that, he worked in consulting and education policy research.