The Making Waves Foundation Commits $2M for College Preparation and Completion to Pittsburg Students in Need

by Making Waves Foundation

First Program Launches with Pittsburg High School

Pittsburg, CA…January 28, 2021 – The Making Waves Foundation (MWF) has partnered with Pittsburg Unified School District to offer programmatic and scholarship support for Pittsburg High students facing financial hardships. In collaboration with Pittsburg High’s (PHS) College and Career Center, the first phase of this multi-year, multi-pronged approach will roll out in January of 2021. These college-ready specific workshops have a proven success record with the College and Alumni Program (CAP), a college success program at MWF in Richmond, CA. The ultimate goal with this new partnership is to expand the fruits of the program to support students in Pittsburg. In addition to the on-going workshops offered to PHS students, up to 25 students from PHS’s senior class will be offered a seat in the CAP PHS Scholarship Program, which will begin during the student’s first year of college, in the fall of 2021. Graduates of PHS who complete college through the CAP PHS Scholarship Program will become part of an active and engaged alumni community totaling more than 400 “Wave-Makers” who have participated in Making Waves Foundation programs over the past 30 years.

Led by Dr. Kristina Wright, the CAP team has been working closely with PHS’s college counselors, assistant principal, principal, and others to design this initial program. Pittsburg High School serves more than 3,500 students and has a graduation rate of 92%. After hearing from PHS staff about their students’ needs and the services the school provides, Dr. Wright drew on CAP’s expertise to create programming that supports the counseling department’s goals and directly benefits PHS students. The effort aims to help prepare Pittsburg youth for college and ultimately graduate on-time with little to no debt. “Our team is excited about the partnership with PHS and we are looking forward to working with all seniors, regardless of their plans for life after graduation,” says Dr. Kristina Wright. “We aim to provide tools and resources that will ignite the pursuit of students’ life dreams and promote self-advocacy as they prepare for the next chapter.”

In November of 2020, Pittsburg Unified School District’s School Board approved this partnership in a 5-0 vote, expressing positivity about what opportunities will be brought to scholars in Pittsburg. “I think this partnership is an incredibly forward-thinking thing to do, that will help kids incredibly,” says Dr. Laura Canciamilla, Former PUSD Board Vice President. This partnership is a new model; it is a non-competitive model, and it’s about doing what’s right for kids and working together collaboratively. I think it has a lot of hope and possibilities. I think it’s a marvelous next step where we’re not competing but working together.” The agreement between The Making Waves Foundation and Pittsburg Unified School District is a novel partnership between a traditional public school system and a community-based, charter school support organization as a waypoint for the future.

“We are grateful for our relationship with Making Waves Foundation,” says Dr. Janet Schulze, Superintendent of Pittsburg Unified School District. “This partnership is a wonderful example of how collaboration can bring together best practices in support of our scholars. Making Waves Foundation’s CAP program offers not only monetary support, but much needed mentoring support while recipients are in college.”

In addition to the workshops and college success programming, “Making Waves Foundation looks forward to implementing a strong scholarship program for graduating Pittsburg High School seniors, as they move forward in their future collegiate success,” says Founder and Chairman John H. Scully of the MWF. Patrick O’Donnell, MWF CEO shares, “We are thrilled to partner with Pittsburg High School to increase the number of PHS graduates who go to college and graduate with little to no debt. I’m inspired by the way our organizations are working together toward our shared goal of ensuring all students have access to an excellent education and the support they need to excel.”


About Pittsburg Unified School District:
Video about PUSD:
Awarded the College Board’s Gaston Caperton Opportunity Honor Roll award in 2016 for expanding access to college, Pittsburg Unified School District (PUSD) is one of 130 school districts across the nation recognized for creating opportunities for traditionally underrepresented students. PUSD is a K-12 district serving the community of Pittsburg, California. Founded in 1933, the school system is committed to providing an excellent opportunity for all students to learn. Comprised of eight elementary schools, three junior high schools, one comprehensive high school, one continuation high school, an adult school, independent study options, and a preschool program, the school district serves more than 11,300 students. PUSD is in Contra Costa County, 50 minutes away from downtown San Francisco.

About Making Waves Foundation and CAP:
Since 1989, Making Waves Foundation (MWF) has provided educational opportunities that change lives. A private operating education foundation located in Richmond, California, MWF is committed to providing historically underrepresented and underserved students access to an equitable education that will propel them to a successful and rewarding future. The foundation is supported philanthropically by individuals, corporations, and foundations. More information about CAP, the college success program at MWF can be found online.