With a unique focus on college access and college success, Making Waves helps inspire and empower historically underrepresented and underserved students and their families.

What began in 1989 as an after-school tutoring program has grown into Making Waves Academy, a tuition-free public charter school providing a rigorous and holistic education, and Making Waves Foundation, a non-profit with a unique approach to advancing educational equity and supporting students to and through college.

Based in Richmond, California, Making Waves Foundation is a private operating foundation that supports Making Waves Academy, a 5-12 grade public charter school serving more than 1,000 students, and operates a college success program, known as CAP, providing a critical bridge between college acceptance and graduation for college students. Our work includes providing financial literacy training, one-to-one college coaching, and need-based scholarships so students in need from across Contra Costa County can get to and through college, graduating as quickly and with as little debt as possible.

We believe that when students graduate high school prepared to succeed in college, they can change their life, alter their family’s trajectory, and return to their communities empowered to live out their life dreams. Our students and alumni, known as Wave-Makers, are passionate about recycling their success and giving back in their careers and in their communities as leaders in business, community organizing, education, medicine, law, social work, and more.


30 Years of Making Waves: From Our Founding to Today

Hear from former Making Waves Education Program Executive Director Shirley Millender-Williams, Making Waves Foundation Co-Founder John H. Scully, program leaders and program alumni on the founding and impact of Making Waves over the last 30 years.