Crescent Foundation, a non-for-profit dedicated to supporting refugee education, homelessness and Islamic cultural heritage, today announced the appointment of investment banker Ben Wong to its board.
The appointment coincides with the Foundation’s plans to increasingly form public institution and private sector partnerships that are catalysts for change and remove barriers to achievement for refugees and those less well off in society.
The Foundation’s current initiatives include a partnership with Deakin University’s Centre for Refugee Employment, Advocacy, Training and Education (CREATE) to mentor 70 individuals from refugee or asylum-seeker backgrounds.
The 70 individuals are paired with prominent business and academic leaders who are members of the Crescent Champions Club who have volunteered to guide the younger people towards career success and leadership. The Foundation has also funded more than 100 Crescent Leadership Scholarships for refugee students at two Australian universities.
Mr Wong, who had a humble start in life in Western Sydney, is a Managing Director of MA Financial Group, formerly Moelis Australia, and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.
Mr Wong focuses on the technology sector and has advised clients on a variety of transactions including cross-border mergers and acquisitions, as well as the equity capital markets. Mr Wong was previously an investment banker at JP Morgan and prior to this was at PwC where he started his career as a cadet.
Crescent Foundation Board Chair, the Hon. Bob Carr said he was delighted to have attracted someone with Mr Wong’s experience, distinctive skill set and wide financial services network to the board.
“Ben has reached the top of his chosen profession but has not lost sight of what it takes to overcome obstacles and rise up from a humble background. Like others on the board, he believes the most vulnerable in our society are precious, need support and deserve a hand up. With his knowledge and network, he will help us find new partners to work with to achieve this.”
Mr Wong said: “I am delighted to join the Crescent Foundation to continue their work and efforts to make an impact on the community, specifically those from a refugee and migrant background. I believe strongly in the talent and work ethic in these communities. Once they are provided with the opportunities many take for granted, they flourish and drive positive impacts for the next generation”.
Mr Wong joins other high-profile board members including former Socceroo and refugee advocate, Craig Foster; multicultural advocate, Mr Affy Bhatti; experienced ASX company director, Ms Penny Bingham-Hall; international development expert, Ms Samira Baqatada; Crescent Foundation Executive Director, Dr Sayd Farook; Crescent Group Founder Prof. Talal Yassine OAM, and property developer and education advocate, Mr Amen Zoabi.
Other organisations the Crescent Foundation supports:
- Scouts NSW to enable children from refugee families to participate in scouting.
- Thrive Refugee Enterprise which helps refugees and asylum seekers start their own small businesses in Australia, and Sanctuary Australia Foundation, which helps refugees from war-torn areas with aspects of settlement, including education, employment and housing.
- Several organisations and programs to help the homeless, including The Big Issue, an independent, not-for-profit social enterprise that develops solutions to help homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people positively change their lives.
- The Islamic Museum of Australia, based in Victoria, which showcases the artistic and cultural heritage of Muslims in Australia, as well as the University of Melbourne Grimwade Centre for Cultural Material Conservation, which preserves significant Islamic manuscripts dating to the 13th century.