Dear Making Waves Community,

As the new CEO of Making Waves Foundation, I am pleased to welcome you to our Fiscal Year 2018-19 Impact Report. This report showcases our work to advance 21st century teaching and learning for students by building a state-of-the-art expanded campus for Making Waves Academy (a high-performing public charter school), the outcomes of CAP, our college success program that helps students graduate on time with minimal debt, and a few of the student and alumni stories that inspire us every day.

I started my career as a Teach for America (TFA) teacher at a public school in South Central LA serving all low-income students of color. What I first observed in this classroom—and what I have seen throughout my career in education, including 11 years at TFA—is that we desperately need a system that supports kids every step of the way so they do not fall through the cracks and so they do persist to college graduation.

Enter Making Waves. When I first learned about this organization, I was inspired by John H. Scully’s founding vision: Making Waves was one of the first to execute a “to and through college” approach. Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, Making Waves Foundation has grown to support nearly 2,000 students annually from fifth grade through college graduation and beyond.

The inequity in our education system is a national crisis. We know that a different reality is possible, though, because we have been creating that reality for the last 30 years. It is my honor to serve as CEO of an organization with such an amazing mission.

Thank you for supporting our work to inspire college futures.

Patrick O’Donnell

Chief Executive Officer

Making Waves Foundation

2019 marks the 30th anniversary of Making Waves inspiring college futures for Bay Area youth. In 1989, John H. Scully and Reverend Eugene Farlough established the Making Waves Education Program (MWEP), an afterschool tutoring program that supported 46 underserved students in Richmond on their path to college. Ms. Shirley Williams served as the first executive director. Today, Making Waves serves nearly 2,000 students at Making Waves Academy, a public charter school, and at CAP, a college success program that has supported nearly 300 students to graduate college. Throughout 2019, we are celebrating the many people—board of directors, staff, alumni, students, parents and guardians, funders, and community members—who have carried out Making Waves’ mission. Commemorative works include our 30th anniversary documentary which describes Making Waves’ evolution as told by organizational leaders and alumni.

CAP commits to coaching our students to graduate from college as quickly and with as little debt as possible while equipping them with the skills and experiences needed to thrive in the global workforce. During their time in the CAP program, each Wave-Maker attends summer bridge workshops before their freshman year and then receives one-on-one coaching, financial literacy training, professional development, and need-based scholarships throughout their entire college experience.

12th Wave

This year, the first graduates of Making Waves Academy completed college. The 16 students from the 12th Wave who graduated college last spring and summer are the first alumni of the Making Waves Academy + CAP model, which takes students from 5th grade through college graduation. And while the national marker for college graduation is six years, these Wave-Makers accomplished this feat in just four-and-a-half years.

Hear from our 12th Wave College Graduates:

For up to six years, CAP’s skilled staff deliver consistent support through a structured coaching model that focuses on the following key pillars of success:

With a relentless focus on minimizing student debt, hitting a four-year graduation pace, and preparing for life after college, CAP supports our students on their journey to success. Our students are incredible in their achievements despite having the deck stacked against them in so many ways.

Melissa Fries

Executive Director, CAP

Colleges that CAP students are attending this year:

American University

Amherst College

Barnard College

Beloit College

Berkeley City College

Bowdoin College

Brown University

California College of the Arts

Chabot College

Chapman University

City College of San Francisco

College of Alameda

College of Marin

Contra Costa College

Cornell University

CSU Bakersfield

CSU Cal Poly Pomona

CSU Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

CSU Chico

CSU Dominguez Hills

CSU East Bay

CSU Fresno

CSU Fullerton

CSU Humboldt

CSU Los Angeles

CSU Monterey

CSU Northridge

CSU Sacramento

CSU San Diego

CSU San Francisco

CSU San Jose

CSU Sonoma

CSU Stanislaus

Diablo Valley College

Dominican University (CA)

Eastfield College

Grambling State University

Hampshire College

Harvard University

Holy Names University

Howard University

Laney College

Linfield College

Loyola Marymount University

Macalester College

Merritt College

Middlebury College

Mills College

Northeastern University

Pitzer College

Prairie View A&M University

San Antonio College

Santa Clara University

Scripps College

St. Olaf College

Stanford University

Texas A&M University

UC Berkeley

UC Davis

UC Irvine


UC Merced

UC Riverside

UC San Diego

UC Santa Barbara

UC Santa Cruz

University of Arizona

University of Chicago

University of Colorado: Colorado Springs

University of Nevada: Las Vegas

University of Pennsylvania

University of San Francisco

University of Utah

Ursinus College


Vassar College

Wesleyan University

Willamette University

Xavier University of Louisiana

Yale University

“One of the reasons why I was initially hesitant about attending a University of California campus was due to cost. I knew going to a prestigious school like UC Berkeley meant paying high program fees, tuition, and rent. CAP’s scholarship definitely helped make me feel that college was more financially feasible. Overall, this scholarship has certainly shaped the person I am today. I am proud to say that I am more confident, resilient, and a bigger risk taker than before.

Sally, senior at University of California at Berkeley studying Business Administration

“College has given me the chance to learn more about myself and my passions. I now know that I like entrepreneurship and plan to one day create and run my own business. What I am most excited about is the fact that I was able to further extend my passion for technology and will be interning for a third time at Microsoft as a software engineer this upcoming summer [in 2019]. These accomplishments were only possible with the help of organizations like CAP.”

Jorge, senior at Stanford University studying Engineering and Computer Science


Launching the CAP
College Success Institute

At the inaugural CAP College Success Institute in May 2019, more than 100 professionals gathered from across the nation—including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Washington DC, Hawaii, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, Oregon, and Texas—to discuss how to increase the college graduation rate of low-income and first-generation students. Representatives from community-based organizations, college and universities, K-12 schools, and foundations were in the room. The conference featured a broad range of keynote speakers and panelists including individuals from Princeton University, University of California, College Track, and Google.

Meet Angelica

9th Wave alumna Angelica earned her BS from Santa Clara University and her MPH from UCLA. She has returned to Richmond where she serves as the adult leaders coordinator at the nonprofit YES Nature to Neighborhoods.

Making Waves Academy Campus Expansion

“Our beautiful, 21st century campus challenges us to meet the high expectations for teaching and learning that a facility of this quality and vision demands of us. We should expect nothing less than excellence, allowing our Wave-Makers to utilize their education, skills, and ambition to realize their hopes, dreams, and goals for themselves.”

Alton B. Nelson, Jr.

Chief Executive Officer

Making Waves Academy

“Today, these structures pulsate with teaching, learning, and laughter every day. But our expansion is more than just this physical structure. This expansion is a reminder of why we are here. We are charged with harnessing our collective genius to close the opportunity gap for our students. We are responsible for encouraging our students to imagine and reimagine their right to dream. These facilities are a daily reminder to be stewards of our mission and vision.”

Ms. Harper-Cotton

Lead Humanities Teacher at Making Waves Academy

2018-19 Unaudited
Financial Summary

Financial Summary

Thanks to the generosity of longtime champions of equity, Making Waves Foundation (the Foundation) was able to devote significant resources to the construction of Making Waves Academy’s expanded middle and upper school campus. On August 22, 2019, the new 20-acre state-of-the-art campus opened for classes. Final construction costs were held in restricted assets during FY19 to be spent in the future. Construction will continue on specific aspects of the campus throughout FY20, including the completion of the upper school gymnasium and play field.

The expenses related to the development, construction, and maintenance of MWA facilities, including depreciation, are ongoing operating expenses. This and CAP, our college success program, form the core programming of the Foundation. CAP has grown to serve nearly 700 college students with one-on-one coaching, financial services support, and need-based scholarships. In addition, the facilities owned, operated, and leased to Making Waves Academy now educate more than 1,000 students annually.

The Foundation’s assets include real estate holdings—some of which are intended for operations and others for the exploration of facilities growth for Making Waves Academy in Contra Costa County. No public funds have been used to finance the Making Waves Academy expansion.

Board of Directors


John H. Scully

Chair and Co-Founder, Making Waves Foundation; Founding Partner, SPO Partners & Co.

Board Members

Ronald A. Cohan

Consulting Counsel, IGT

Phil Gordon

Partner, Perkins Coie LLP

Ajani Jackson, M.D.

Adult, Adolescent, and Child Psychiatrist

Sidney Landman

Financial and Business Management Consultant, Landman Consulting

Alicia Malet Klein

GATE Instructor, Coleman School; President, HeadsUp Public Education Foundation;

Board President, Making Waves Academy

Regina K. Scully

Philanthropist, Filmmaker, Founder, and CEO, Artemis Rising Foundation

Jonathan Stern

CEO, SnapStrat

Eli Weinberg

Chief Investment Officer, SPO Partners & Co.

Michael B. Yuen

Partner, Isabella Partners

Senior Leadership Team

Patrick O’Donnell - Chief Executive Officer

Elaine Clark - Chief Financial Officer

Darcy Deming - Chief Advancement Officer

Melissa Fries - Executive Director, CAP

Jerold Ligons - Vice President of Property Management and Facilities

John Scheidt - Vice President of Human Resources

CAP Advisory Board

Ronald A. Cohan

Consulting Counsel, IGT

Suzanne Duca

Board of Directors, La Centra Sumerlin Foundation

Dr. Esther Hugo

Adjunct Faculty, CSU College of Education and UCLA; Coordinator,

UCLA College Counseling Certificate Program; Education Consultant

Ron Nahas

Partner, Rafanelli and Nahas LLP

Cindi Nicolas

Managing Director, Slalom Consulting

CAP Leadership Team

Melissa Fries - Executive Director

Ann Helfman - Director of Operations

Ivette Chavez - Director of Financial Services

May Melehan - Director of Coaching Services

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