Mission & History
Making Waves rigorously and holistically prepares students to gain acceptance to and graduate from college, to ultimately become valuable contributors to the workforce and their communities.
Nearly 30 years ago John Scully and the late Reverend Eugene Farlough, pastor of Sojourner Truth Church in Richmond, were serving on the board of the prestigious Branson School in Ross, California. The pair started discussing the need to help children that cannot afford to attend a school like Branson but deserve access to a high-quality education.
Making Waves formed from this conversation between two friends. Utilizing Scully’s seed funding and Farlough’s contacts, they initially hired Shirley Millender-Williams, to design and run the program.
Making Waves is established and 46 fifth graders from elementary schools in Richmond are selected to participate in the Making Waves Education Program, an eight-year tutoring program.
The 2nd cohort of students is admitted to the program and Making Waves expands its range of services to students. Staff recognized that the depth of problems students and families faced required more than ad hoc expertise. For example, it created staff positions for mental health counselors to address students’ personal and family problems that go beyond the training and expertise of even the most well-trained educators.
The 1st cohort (1st Wave) graduates from high-school and 76% goes off to attend four-year colleges/universities. The 3rd Wave is admitted.
Making Waves Education Program expands its operations to San Francisco. It provided the full complement of Making Waves student supports and other interventions, as necessary, to keep children and families on track.
We expanded the reach of our vision by opening Making Waves Academy Middle School, a public charter school serving grades 5-8 in Richmond, CA.
Subsequently, the Making Waves Academy Upper School opened in the fall of 2011 to accommodate our growing student body in grades 9-12, which reached full capacity in 2014.
Making Waves Foundation opens the College and Alumni Program (CAP) as part of the Making Waves commitment to rigorously and holistically prepare Making Waves Academy students to gain acceptance to and graduate from college.
Making Waves Academy celebrates its first graduating class with 76 seniors in the Class of 2015 (12th Wave). All of the graduating class transitioned to the College and Alumni Program; 75% enrolled in four-year universities.
College and Alumni Program (CAP) expands to include CAP Bay Area providing coaching support services to under-represented students from the surrounding Bay Area counties.
Making Waves Academy expansion begins. The plans intend to expand the Making Waves Academy Lakeside campus physical space with the goal of educating ~1,300 students annually (up from today’s ~800) by the 2025-26 school year.