Background and History
Wausau Area Hmong Mutual Association, Inc. (WAHMA) was organized as a private non-profit 501 (C) (3),
tax-exempt organization in 1983 to assist in community integration as well as economic and social advancement
of Southeast Asian refugees and former refugees in the Wausau – Marathon County Metropolitan Statistical Area.
At that time, this area was the “whitest” and among the most socially homogeneous areas in the United States.
WAHMA has grown from an all-volunteer entity with a few programs to a multifaceted community agency.
The agency currently has over 11 full-time and 3 part-time employees serving more 6,000 Southeast Asian
residents. The growing Southeast Asian population makes the city of Wausau the second largest and the highest
per capita Southeast Asian community in Wisconsin.
WAHMA is one of the largest organizations governed by Southeast Asian refugees or former refugees.
The agency has a 15 member Board of Directors representing the Southeast Asian residents in the Central
Wisconsin area. Board members serve a two-year term, which meets monthly throughout the year.
The agency has built strong working partnerships with a variety of other community organizations providing
employment training, economic development, education, and human services. In addition, WAHMA has worked
closely with community leaders both in the public and private sectors to ensure a smooth transition for
Southeast Asian families and the general community.