Making Waves Education Foundation » About Making Waves » Vision, Mission, and Core Values

Our Vision

A society in which all youth—regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status—have access to high-quality educational opportunities and the tools to achieve success.

Our Mission

To advance educational opportunities for college-bound, career-minded, historically underrepresented and underserved youth.

Our Core Values

Our Making Waves Education Foundation community – students, alumni, staff members, board members, donors, and partners – is committed to expanding educational opportunity. Our core values guide our work together.

Our Core Values
  • Drive impact. We expand educational opportunity for underrepresented students – this is the heart of our mission. To support college and career success for individual students and at scale in communities, we think big, set ambitious goals, and achieve results.   
  • Promote equity. We acknowledge that marginalized communities face systemic inequities. With our students, we address barriers to opportunity by supporting them to pursue their dreams. With our staff, we leverage our diverse perspectives, build genuine relationships, and implement policies that promote fairness for everyone. 
  • Build community. We seek deep connections and nurture authentic, inclusive relationships. We show up for each other and build each other up with love, strength, and joy. We accelerate progress through intentional collaboration and partnership.  
  • Do hard things. When we see a challenge, we rise to it with optimism and courage. The stakes are high, so we don’t give up.  
  • Learn and grow. We stretch ourselves by staying curious and testing new ideas. We reflect, celebrate, iterate, and share our learning to support others’ growth. 

Our Founding

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

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.