Our founding and commitment to educational equity  

For more than 30 years, Making Waves has been committed to educational equity. In 1989, John H. Scully and the late Reverend Eugene Farlough founded Making Waves Education Program as an after-school program in Richmond, California, starting with nearly 50 students in 5th grade. Since then, knowing the power of education, Making Waves has grown to reach more Bay Area students, families, and communities. 

Making Waves Academy  

Making Waves Academy, a tuition-free public charter school in Richmond, California was founded by John H. Scully and his wife Regina K. Scully in 2007.

Now enrolling more than 1,100 students in 5th through 12th grade, Making Waves Academy offers academics, social-emotional support, and college and career programming at its state-of-the-art campus.   

Making Waves Education Foundation  

Making Waves Education Foundation supports Making Waves Academy and leads a college and career success program. Originally known as the College and Alumni Program, or CAP, this program was founded in 2013 to provide scholarships and coaching to support Making Waves Academy graduates in pursuing college and graduating as quickly and with as little debt as possible.

The program has grown to make college affordable and graduation attainable for more students from the Bay Area.

Our community of Wave-Makers  

Our students proudly refer to themselves as “Wave-Makers.” The first executive director of Making Waves Education Program, Shirley Millender-Williams, created the name Making Waves and the descriptor of Wave-Makers for our students and alumni. “I wanted them to have a sense of power – that they could make things happen,” she said.  

Since our founding, the majority of our Wave-Makers are people of color, are from low-income backgrounds, and are first-generation college students or graduates. Over 500 Wave-Makers are currently pursuing college degrees and over 600 Wave-Makers have earned college degrees from universities across the U.S.

Jailene Lopez, Camryn Downey, Jennifer Diaz, and Alison Paxter in graduation caps and gowns
Wave-Makers and college graduates Jailene Lopez (UC Berkeley), Camryn Downey (Sonoma State University), Jennifer Diaz (Cal State East Bay), and Alison Paxtor (Cal State East Bay).

Timeline at a glance


Making Waves Education Program is founded


Making Waves Academy opens


Making Waves Foundation starts college and career success program (formerly known as CAP)


Foundation updates brand as Making Waves Education Foundation

30 Years of Making Waves: From Our Founding to Today

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