Stanley Wong is a co-founder of 12+, a previous member of the Board of Directors, and currently supports 12+ as a monthly donor. He is a consultant at Vantage Partners, working with clients from the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. After growing up in central New Jersey, he went to college at Northwestern University and received his Masters in Education from the City College of New York and his J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. Currently, he lives in Boston with his wonderful wife, Margaret, though keeps up with all things Philadelphia from afar.
We tracked down Stan to ask a few questions about himself and his motivations for supporting (and founding!) 12+. Thank you, Stan and Margaret, for your regular support!
As a co-founder, what sparked your interest in starting 12+?
I wanted to continue engaging in the issues of education equity after leaving the teaching profession and thought that getting involved in 12+ would be a venue for this. Part of this stems from my conviction that I am extremely lucky to have been given the opportunities that I have had and that if anything, there is an obligation for me to "pay it forward" to others. It pains me to know that there are many students out there who do not get a chance to go to college and may not find a well-paying job to support their family (although I recognize that education is just one key enabler to this end).
Why do you give to 12+?
Margaret and I strongly believe in the mission of this organization. We get excited hearing about all of the impactful work that Raymond John and the rest of the 12+ team have been doing at our partner schools for the past couple of years...We recognize how important a sustainable donor base is to a nonprofit organization. 12+ is no longer a nascent startup -- it has a robust (and continually improving) operating model that will need regular financial support in order for the model to be implemented. As a monthly donor, we want to do our little part to free up the team to focus more on the critical piece of working with the students rather than worrying about finances.
What's your favorite thing about 12+?
I still remember sitting in a living room with Abraham Kwon and the other co-founders discussing ideas that would eventually form 12+. I don't believe any of us could have imagined that 12+ would grow to its current scale with the array of services offered and the number of schools and students engaged. Although we've grown immensely, what I think has stayed largely the same is the high level of passion and commitment from the members of the team (i.e. staff and Fellows) to the organization. I love learning about their motivations in joining the organization and the stories that they have in working with the students -- keep those "Life of a Fellow" blog posts going!