Phone: 202 – 834-3838
Sandy Dang is a seasoned executive who has a successful track record of building an award-winning nonprofit organization.
Born in Vietnam, Sandy came with her family to resettle in Salt Lake City, Utah at the age of thirteen. Sandy still vividly recalls standing outside the lunchroom crying because she did not know how to ask for a lunch ticket in English. Six years after she arrived in the United States, she became the first person in her family to go to college, with a scholarship to Duke University.
In 1995, when she was ready to begin her career, she noticed that there were 6,000 newly arrived Vietnamese refugees in the District of Columbia. They faced cultural barriers, as well as difficulties accessing education, employment, and housing. Some of the children were dropping out of school and joining street gangs. Despite these problems, Sandy knew these children had the potential to learn, to go to college and move out of poverty, as she and her siblings had done. In 1998, with a $15,000 seed grant, she founded Asian American Leadership, Empowerment, and Development (AALEAD), the first Asian-American youth development organization in the Washington D.C. region.
AALEAD supported immigrant families through a broad array of educational and social services, including academic enrichment, one-on-one mentoring, leadership training, and family support services. Under her leadership, AALEAD transformed itself from a start-up project into a $1.5 million institution with a permanent community center, a broad base of partners and funders, and a history of innovation and impact. AALEAD has helped hundreds of students move out of poverty through education. In 2006, AALEAD opened an office in Montgomery County, Maryland. As the founder and executive director of AALEAD for 13 years, Sandy played a key role in its success and growth and today AALEAD continued to thrive under new leadership.
On transitioning from AALEAD, she received a Pforzeimer Nonprofit Fellowship to attend the Midcareer Masters of Public Administration (MPA) program at the Kennedy School Government at Harvard University. Since graduating in 2010, she has been working as a change management consultant at the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (MCDHHS) in Maryland. In that capacity, Sandy works closely with the Director and Senior Leaders of MCDHHS to develop and implement a new practice model that fosters service coordination and collaboration across diverse programs within the 1,700 employee department.
In 2011, Sandy was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the Board of Directors of the Vietnam Education Foundation, where she is currently the Chair of the Finance Committee. In addition, she is currently serving on the Board of Directors of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development, on the Community Advisory Board of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Community Advisory Council for WETA Television. She was selected as one of 12 Washingtonians of the Year 2001 by Washingtonian Magazine. In addition to her M.P.A., she also holds a BA from Duke University and a Masters in Social Work from Catholic University. In addition to English, Sandy is fluent in Cantonese and Vietnamese.