The Vietnamese American community in Clark County was formed more than 30 years ago when the first wave of Vietnamese immigrants and refugees settled in this region. Recognizing the need for a formal structure, Vietnamese community leaders organized and established the Vietnamese Community of Clark County (VNCCC).
VNCCC was incorporated in 1992 and acquired 501.c.3 status in 2005. The organization remains the only Vietnamese non-profit in Clark County. Truly a community-based organization, VNCCC is accountable to the Vietnamese community at large. All major decisions—e.g. amendments to by-laws—require input from the community through meetings.
Since its inception, VNCCC has been led by volunteer Vietnamese community leaders. In the earlier years VNCCC provided informal support to Vietnamese refugees and immigrants as they adjusted to life in the United States. VNCCC continues to be the center of the Vietnamese American community in Clark County.
VNCCC organizes the annual Vietnamese Lunar New Year and Autumn Festival to provide Vietnamese Americans the space to gather, connect, and build a sense of community. These cultural events are also the main medium for bridging cultures. In addition, VNCCC regularly makes home visits to community members to offer support and learn about community needs.
According to the U.S 2000 Census, there were 2,147 Vietnamese Americans in Clark County, mostly concentrated in the city of Vancouver. The 2008 American Community Survey estimated an increase to 3,010. However, through community gatherings and house visits, Vietnamese community leaders suggest a higher number.
In early 2009, VNCCC and other leaders in the community met to discuss the future of the Vietnamese community in Clark County. The series of meetings was a response to the growing concerns from community leaders regarding the direction of this community. We identified the core issues facing the Vietnamese community in Clark County: lacking a collective voice and solidarity and a presence in the larger community, generational gap, lacking a social support system for Vietnamese Americans and their families, isolation, and lacking involvement from the younger generations. We decided that addressing these concerns requires long-term community building effort.
On Oct 10th, 2009, VNCCC organized a visioning forum to establish a future direction for the Vietnamese community. We believed that only with a defined collective direction can we act strategically to address community concerns. Furthermore, as changes most often start from within, we are taking initiative to empower our community. The Vietnamese community also enthusiastically seeks partnerships with other minority groups and the community at large to enhance the fabric of our society.
The 6-hour forum was held at Hudson’s Bay High School. About 30 community members of diverse backgrounds attended the forum, including elder community leaders, young adults, high school students, and other concerned members. Participants worked in small groups and together as a larger community to formulate a vision for the Vietnamese community in Clark County. For the next 10 years, we as a community will:
1. Foster positive youth development and provide opportunities for youth to participate and contribute to their community
2. Preserve and promote the Vietnamese heritage, while bridging cultures
3. Provide social services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate to the Vietnamese community.
4. Ensure transparency of community processes and actions
5. Increase intergenerational interactions, understanding, and partnerships.
6. Promote greater civic participation from the Vietnamese people
7. Engage all segments of the Vietnamese community in planning and decision-making to reflect community needs and desires.
8. Develop a stronger collective voice and presence for the Vietnamese community
9. Create the spaces for the Vietnamese community to engage, develop trust, and start the healing process
10. Collaborate with other minority groups and the community at large to achieve mutual understand, respect, and benefits.
The forum was the first time the Vietnamese community came together in such fashion. Although the methods and visioning exercises were especially novel to elder community leaders, all participants engaged passionately to achieve common goals. Long-time community leaders were especially enthused at the presence of the younger generations. They look forward to building a community where positive interactions and partnerships between all generations is a foundation.
Community members left the forum with hope and a clearer sense of direction for the community. With the future envisioned, we as a community are now ready to embark the next phases of community building.
 U.S. 2000 Census
 2008 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates