Students Rising Above Welcomes Dena Vongchanh as New Director of Development

Photo of Dena Vongchanh

San Francisco, CA — Students Rising Above (SRA) is excited to announce the appointment of Dena Vongchanh as our new Director of Development, effective March 18, 2024. Dena brings a wealth of experience and a deep commitment to empowering individuals who are navigating significant socioeconomic challenges.

Dena joins us with over seven years of combined experience in sales and nonprofit fundraising. Prior to her current role, she spearheaded the Major Gifts and Data Quality programs at Family Giving Tree and developed a broad range of skills during her tenure at City of Dreams as the Development and Marketing Manager. Her expertise in donor communications, CRM data management, and relationship building has significantly advanced our fundraising strategies and donor community engagement at SRA.

Rooted in her own life experiences, Dena’s drive is deeply personal. As a cancer survivor and the daughter of a Laotian refugee, she understands the complexities and obstacles of navigating life and higher education in America. These formative experiences motivate her to advocate for students and individuals from groups experiencing poverty or those in the lowest income brackets, ensuring they receive the support and opportunities necessary to define their own success.

In addition to her work at SRA, Dena serves as the President-Elect and Marketing and Communications Chair on the board of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Golden Gate Chapter.

In her new role, Dena will oversee all development activities at SRA, helping to ensure that SRA continues to effectively support our students in achieving their educational and career goals. “Dena’s unique insights and innovative approaches to development are vital as we elevate our programs and impact,” said Angela Bugayong, Chief Program Officer of Students Rising Above.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the Director of Development for the past six years. The SRA community is truly remarkable and I have met so many people across the Bay Area whose generosity and dedication to our mission will forever inspire me. Passing the baton to someone as capable and creative as Dena is exciting. Her background and demonstrated commitment to impacting educational equity will be valuable to the organization. I look forward to watching her leadership of SRA’s development initiatives from a far.” — Jennifer Naecker, Outgoing Director of Development of Students Rising Above.

Please join us in congratulating Dena on her new role and supporting her as she helps guide SRA into an exciting future.