Press Kit

KOM is happy to give media interviews for stories related to refugees from Burma living in Minnesota. For all media requests, please use the following information and adhere to the guidelines below.

Media Contact

Please direct all media inquiries to Eh Tah Khu or Alexis Walstad.

Organization Overview

The Karen Organization of Minnesota was founded in 2008 by refugees from Burma. As the first Karen-led social service agency in the U.S., KOM is often consulted by Minnesota and statewide agencies to learn about how to best serve refugees from Burma. In 2023, KOM updated their mission statement to better reflect the expanded services and communities served: to build on the strengths of refugee and immigrant communities and remove barriers to achieving economic, social, and cultural wellbeing. KOM offers employment services, social services, community health, and youth development programs to over 3,000 refugees and immigrants each year. Most of our staff and board members are from the communities we serve, giving us a unique ability to provide culturally responsive services and keep pace with the community’s changing needs. While most of our clients are from Burma, we also serve clients from areas including Afghanistan, Ukraine, Southeast Asia, East Africa, and Latin America who now live in the Twin Cities. KOM currently has 40 staff members.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Karen Organization of Minnesota is to build on the strengths of refugee and immigrant communities and remove barriers to achieving economic, social, and cultural wellbeing.


How many Karen live in Minnesota?
KOM estimates that over 17,000 Karen live in Minnesota. Additionally, we estimate that 1,500 Karenni and 200 Mon live in Minnesota. Please note that these numbers are estimates. Refugee arrivals, secondary immigrants (moving from a different state in the U.S.), births, and deaths all contribute to the population of refugees from Burma in Minnesota. Data for refugee arrivals in Minnesota is gathered by the Resettlement Programs Office of the Minnesota Department of Human Services. Other population data is reported by Karen community leaders.

Who does KOM serve?
KOM provides services to all refugees from Burma in Minnesota, as well as other immigrant and refugee communities. Although KOM was founded by members of the Karen community, we serve all ethnic groups from Burma, including Karen, Karenni, Mon, Chin and more. As a member of the State of Minnesota’s Refugee Resettlement Network, KOM supports refugees from numerous countries including Afghanistan, Ukraine, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Latin America. KOM also welcomes diverse immigrants, refugees, low-income families and individuals, and English learners in our Career Pathways programs. KOM staff members speak English, Sgaw Karen, Pwo Karen, Karenni, Burmese, Thai, Hmong, Urdu, Dari, and Pashto.


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