Making Waves Foundation 2021-22 Impact Report

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Making Wa ve s Found at ion New Core Values guide work to EXPAND EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY Celebrating COLLEGE GRADUATES, Our plan to reach STUDENTS AND FAMILIES
WAVE-MAKER SUCCESS FRAMEWORK student dreams with a measurable plan Students and alumni MAKING WAVES college and careers graduating DEBT-FREE in 2022 2021–22 Impact Report
Alison Paxtor
WHAT’S INSIDE 04 06 23 09 19 14 Message from Our CEO Our Mission, Vision, and Values Thank You To Donors and Supporters Our Impact Wave-Maker Alumni Wave-Maker Students

About Making Waves Foundation

With a unique focus on college attendance and graduation, Making Waves Foundation provides educational opportunities for historically underrepresented and underserved students in pursuing their dreams.

27 26

29 Board of Directors and Advisory Committee Financial Positioning

Our Plan to Reach More Students and Families

We lead a college success program, known as the College and Alumni Program, or CAP, which provides coaching , scholarships, financial literacy, and career support to more than 500 college students and a network for more than 600 Wave-Maker alumni

Making Waves Academy

Making Waves Foundation supports Making Waves Academy as their facilities provider and with intellectual resources, as well as financial support for college access and community building activities. Graduates from Making Waves Academy have the opportunity to enroll in the foundation’s college success program.

Making Waves Academy provides rigorous academics, holistic social-emotional services, and comprehensive college and career advising. In the U.S. News 2022 Best High Schools rankings, Making Waves Academy ranked among the top 4.5% of U.S. high schools


Dear Making Waves community,

In June, I sat in the audience at Craneway Pavilion in Richmond with hundreds of families and teachers preparing to celebrate over 75 Making Waves Academy seniors as they walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.

Wave-Makers are the next generation of leaders

Several seniors gave impassioned speeches about their high school journeys. They spoke of their joys, challenges, and triumphs; how their community supported them; and their dreams for their futures. These were powerful speeches, and as I sat there, all I could think was: Wave-Makers are the next generation of leaders. They are values-driven leaders who have the talent, empathy, and perspective to solve the complex problems of our time.

This past year included so many of these moments. Wave-Makers have big dreams for their lives, and it was incredible to see so many Wave-Makers chase and accomplish their dreams.


Inside this issue

I hope you enjoy reading the stories of some of our Wave-Makers — like Making Waves Academy graduate Lizbeth Ibarra accepting her offer to attend Harvard University (page 15) and Pittsburg High graduates Re’Niyah Oliver and Brenten Williams joining our college success program and studying business at Texas Southern University (page 16).

In addition, 93 Wave-Makers in our college success program earned bachelor’s degrees this past year, including Alison Paxtor , who graduated from CSU East Bay and is improving healthcare for underserved communities (page 20).

With our alumni network now over 600 Wave-Makers strong, we continue to see alumni making waves — like Garvey Buchongo, a graduate of Sonoma State University, who landed her dream job at Brooks Running and launched a scholarship program (page 22).

Strengthening support for students

Our team strengthened our student support, focusing on continuous improvement and datadriven approaches. We launched a Wave-Maker Success Framework (page 12), continued to work toward increasing college attendance and graduation rates in the Bay Area’s Contra Costa County, and began exploring technology through AI college advising (page 31).

Thank you so much for supporting Wave-Makers and our team on the path to these dreams. For over 30 years, we have addressed barriers to opportunity by supporting thousands of Wave-Makers to have access to educational opportunities, career networks, and financial resources so they can thrive and live a life of their choosing. You make this possible.

In partnership, Patrick O’Donnell CEO of Making Waves Foundation

O’Donnell congratulating students at Making Waves Academy’s 8th grade promotion event
Thank you for making this possible!


Students have tremendous talents and skills and are capable of achieving their college, career, and life goals. We believe providing students with opportunities and guidance ensures they are equipped to overcome systemic barriers, live choice-filled lives, and achieve these goals.

Our Mission

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

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 Core Values

In December 2021, the Making Waves Foundation board of directors unanimously approved organiza tional Core Values — values that guide our work in pursuit of advancing educational opportunity.

The yearlong process brought together students, alumni, staff, and board members, who shared moments from their Making Waves experiences that they felt reflected the organization’s deepest values. The group strived to create values that are actionable, provide a sense of pride, and serve as inspiration for advancing educational equity.

Drive Impact

We expand educational opportunity for underrep resented 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.


“What I love about the creation of core values is that it’s an opportunity to get feedback from so many stakeholders to make sure the values resonate with multiple groups.”
— Erick Roa Chief People and Operations Officer
“It was no surprise to me that Build Community was selected as one of our core values because essentially that’s what we’re doing on a day-to-day basis. We get this opportunity to create a space for students to know that they are seen, valued, and heard, and are part of a community of people rooting for them to make it through college.”
— Ayasha Tripp Senior Manager of Coaching Services
“I’m really excited about these core values and how they can anchor everyone about who we are and how we operate together in service of our shared commitment to expanding educational opportunity.”
— Patrick O’Donnell Chief Executive Officer

Learn and Grow: How Our College Coaching Pilots Supported Student Success

At Making Waves Foundation, we recognize that a variety of approaches and resources are needed to support a college “game plan.”

Aligning with one of our Core Values, Learn and Grow, and thanks to pilot programs led by our college coaches, we’ve been able to zero in on the practices that help our college students graduate and thrive. Coaches explored new ways of supporting students in areas such as wellness and self-advocacy, career exploration and readiness, agency and self-authorship, and academic planning. Based on the pilots, we implemented refinements to bolster and measure support.

“One refinement that came out of the coaching pilots, in partnership with Project Evident, is a 60-question student assessment on identity, purpose, agency, and career readiness,” said Ayasha Tripp , senior manager of coaching services. “Once our coaches review the results, they are able to help students establish measurable goals.”

“Asking coaches to think intentionally and creatively about the different ways to serve our students gave us an opportunity to be more purposeful,” Tripp shared. “Some coaches started focusing on career readiness with students. Others centered coaching around wellness and health to help students cope with the pandemic.”

Through the pilots and assessments, students gain flexibility and are able to determine what feels right for their schedule and needs. In addition, with data available on Wave-Makers’ college journeys, coaches can evaluate their caseloads to inform who might need specific forms of support.

“Life in college can present a wide variety of different demands, so our coaches are helping students name their values and priorities so they don’t spread themselves too thin,” said Tripp. “We are taking the best of the coaching team’s experience and expertise and codifying it — learning from what the team has been doing and being strategic about what we focus on going forward.”

“Because we can’t do everything, we are asking students and coaches to focus their time and energy on target areas. If we can do these things well, then we will more effectively support students on their college journey. That’s the meeting of impact and action,” she said.

Ayasha Tripp (center) with Wave-Makers Alison Paxtor (left) and Jennifer Diaz (right) at Cal State East Bay


If we work in partnership with Wave-Makers to navigate their college journey through authentic coaching, and differentiated personal, professional, and financial supports…

THEN Wave-Makers will internalize the power of their own identity, purpose, and agency, and make decisions that will lead them to persist in college…

AS A RESULT, Wave-Makers will graduate from college on time, with minimal debt, ready for a strong start to their career aligned with their values and dreams.


Nearly 100% of Making Waves Academy graduates meet the requirements to attend a UC or CSU

Over 80% of Making Waves Academy graduates enrolled in college, with over 70% of those attending four-year colleges

Wave-Makers graduate from college at twice the rate of their peers as a part of our college success program

Wave-Makers graduated with less than $1,000 in debt on average, which is 97% less than the U.S. average

84% of Wave-Makers graduated with $0 in debt

Wave-Makers pursue their career passions and give back to their communities in education, health care, law, technology, and more

Race and ethnicity 78% Hispanic or Latinx 13% Black or African American 9% Asian 6% Other 4% Southeast Asian 89% 71%
Gender identity 63% Women 36% Men 1% Prefer not to say 1% Prefer to self-describe Less than 1% Non-Binary
THE NUMBERS Academic Year 2021–22
Wave-Makers in college 575 are first-generation college students are eligible for Federal Pell Grants Graduation rates at Making Waves Academy College graduation rates through Making Waves Foundation Minimal debt for college graduates Career success

Our Investment and Commitment

$4,700 invested in coaching and $3,300 in scholarships per student, on average 97% of Wave-Makers report coaching support was valuable 3,680+ coaching meetings

Our Student Success

46% attend a University of California campus 33% attend a California State University campus 10% attend a private college or university 7% attend a community college 2% attend a public out-of-state university 84% of Wave-Makers are on track to have $0 in student loan debt upon graduation

Our Impact

71% 6-year graduation rate for bachelor’s degree students, more than twice the rate of their national peers


Wave-Maker Success Framework: A Path to College Graduation and Achievement

At Making Waves Foundation, we have a new recipe for impact: the Wave-Maker Success Framework.

Based on insights from students and the expertise from coaches this framework consolidates our proven college success program and coaching resources in a way that establishes an entry point for students and a measurable plan for their college and career success.

“To codify the Wave-Maker Success Framework, we reflected on the areas in which we are uniquely positioned to support students on their college journey. This pushed us to be clear about what we do and why we do it,” said Aiyana Mourtos, VP of Impact.

Focusing time and energy

Students begin by taking a self-assessment that asks them to reflect on competencies in the WaveMaker Success Framework, such as identity, purpose, agency, and career readiness. Put together, this information supports students to focus their time and energy setting specific and tangible goals with their coaches.

“The framework captures the intentions, qualities, and actions that we believe support student success in college and life beyond. It reflects our belief that Wave-Makers bring tremendous strengths by virtue of who they are, while recognizing that college offers new experiences for holistic learning and development,” said Mourtos.


Shared language

The framework also provides shared language that program staff and students can ground in authentically.

“This year, we’ll be trying a new goal attainment scale that helps break goals down into something a little bit more manageable,” shared Mourtos, who noted this work is in partnership with Project Evident.

“Often, we hear students say they want a 3.5 GPA. That’s a great goal, and we support it. But what does that actually mean in terms of the changes they need to make to get there? Helping students identify and remove barriers is a key part of the attainment process,” shared Mourtos.

Holistic approach

“Now that we’ve codified shared language and effective methods, students and coaches are able to set goals around a focus area that makes sense for them, which they can carry with them beyond college and into their adult lives. That gets at the heart of the holistic approach we’re taking with our students,” Mourtos said.

References: the development of the Wave-Maker Success Framework drew from decades of insights and expertise from college coaches, financial services coordinators, and Wave-Makers. Key references also include the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research, The Chicago Jobs Council, the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education, ACPA-College Student Educators International and NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, Character Lab, and Project Evident.





1,110+ 500+ 600+

Wave-Maker students at Making Waves Academy

Wave-Maker college students Wave-Maker college graduates

Making Waves Academy Celebrates Graduation, Making Waves Foundation Grants Scholarships

Making Waves Academy celebrated its graduating students and their families in June 2022. “We are proud of the Class of 2022 and of all they have accomplished. Our graduates have persevered through a few particularly challenging years to reach this milestone,” shared Alton B. Nelson, Jr., CEO of Making Waves Academy.

At a spring decision day event, graduates shared a range of plans, with the majority planning to attend colleges or universities. Through Making Waves Foundation, Making Waves Academy graduates have the unique opportunity to receive scholarships and coaching to support them on their path to graduating college as quickly and with as little debt as possible.

Pictured left to right: Juliana Herrera, Tre’iana Wilton, and Samaya Palacios-Jones

Making Waves Academy Graduation Fast Facts

Number of Graduates:

• 89


Making Waves and Breaking Barriers at Harvard

Making Waves Academy graduate Lizbeth Ibarra decided to attend Harvard University. A climate activist, Ibarra is studying environmental science and engineering.

“I am most excited about getting out of my comfort zone and being able to experience something different. I am hopeful that everything the 19th Wave and I do after graduation is going to change the world for the better,” shared Ibarra.

“I chose Harvard because I feel that it’s important that I continue to break barriers as a low-income woman of color at a PWI [predominately white institution]. While I know that I’m going to have to seek resources to support me as a first-generation student in a space like this, I want to show other BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and people of color] kids that we do belong in these spaces.”

Lizbeth Ibarra, Harvard University Alexander Reyes, UC San Diego Jaquelin Trujillo, UCLA Salutatorians: Alexis Ledesma, UC Davis Elena Ybarra, UCLA Alexander Reyes

Welcoming 14 of Our Newest Wave-Makers from Pittsburg High School

In addition to Making Waves Academy collegebound graduates joining our college success program, we welcomed 14 Wave-Makers who graduated from Pittsburg High School in the Bay Area. “Each of these students has a passion for learning and dreams of obtaining a degree to enable them to give back to their families and communities,” shared Dr. Kristina Wright, director of learning and design.

The partnership between Making Waves Foundation and Pittsburg supports students making informed decisions about college and provides the opportunity to join our college success program.

“The best part is I know that they’re going to be there throughout the whole experience.”

- Re’Niyah Oliver, Texas Southern University

“It means a lot having a team by my side as I go through this journey.”

- Brenton Williams, Texas Southern University

“This scholarship and coaching means everything to me from Making Waves as without this scholarship I might not have gained the opportunity to attend Howard University,”

- Brandon Williams, Howard University

- Erika Galvez, San Francisco State University

Brandon Williams Re’Niyah Oliver (left) and Brenten Williams (right) Erika Galvez
“I have a passion for helping others and [the nursing] field needs people like me.”

College Success by the Numbers


Wave-Makers at 77 universities across the U.S., pursuing majors and minors across 30+ areas of study

93 84%

Wave-Makers graduated from college in 2021–22

Graduated debt-free and the average debt was only $977 per student

Meet Some of Our Newest College


Camryn Downey graduated with a degree in accounting from Sonoma State University. Downey is also a graduate of Making Waves Academy.

Jailene Lopez graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Chicano studies. Lopez is starting a new job at an immigration law firm in San Francisco.

Iyalah Sanabria graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a degree in management and minor in marketing.

Allison Cubillas graduated from UC San Diego with a degree in international business and started work at MEKETA Investment Group.

Celine Rodriguez Escudero earned three degrees from UC Davis: a BA in philosophy, BA in Spanish, and BS in managerial economics.

Wave-Maker Moises Limon graduated from UC Merced with a degree in computer science and engineering.

Limon, who is also an alumnus of Making Waves Academy, joined Target’s Technology Leadership Program.


Graduating College, with Determination and with Honors

“I’m very, very proud to be able to reach one of the biggest goals that I set for myself: to complete college,” shared Jennifer Diaz, a first-generation college student and Wave-Maker who graduated from California State University, East Bay in 2022, with summa cum laude honors. Describing joining the Making Waves community as the best feeling in the world, Diaz said the scholarship “alleviated the stress about money when it came to college.” Another aspect of the program Diaz leveraged was the coaching.

“I thought it was amazing to have someone give us coaching throughout college. After each call, I feel reenergized, confident, more positive, and supported.”

“Thankfully graduation was in person this year. I’m very glad that all my family could watch me complete one of the biggest accomplishments that I’ve done so far. They’re very proud. It was a long journey,” shared Diaz who started an internship after graduation with the State Bar of California.

Jennifer Diaz
Jennifer Diaz celebrating graduation with her family




of Wave-Makers obtained a full-time job or began graduate school within a year of completing their undergraduate degree, more than double the rate of their peers

From Making Waves Academy to UC Berkeley Law

“It is an absolutely amazing feeling to know that I have made history,” shared Leajé Morris, the first Making Waves Academy alumni to graduate from UC Berkeley School of Law and the first in her family to become a lawyer.

“It is truly unreal and is an absolute blessing. I would not be here without God, my mother, my Making Waves family, and the discipline that I have maintained throughout this process,” she shared.

“I also appreciate Making Waves Foundation for lessening the financial burden so that I could truly focus on my studies. This not only alleviated the stress on us as students, but also on our families as well,” shared Morris, who is now beginning her career in law as a litigation associate at a law firm in San Francisco.

“I am very thrilled to get started! I chose to pursue law school because I knew that I wanted to be an attorney at a very young age. I wanted to become the attorney that my community needed me to be.”

Leajé Morris

Putting Passion into Practice and Advancing Health Equity

Alison Paxtor became interested in health equity at a young age. “I noticed many of the health inequities that my community faced. I’ve always seen those inequities,” she shared. “After taking courses in public health and talking to professors about my interests in preventing health inequities, I realized that public health is my passion.”

Having graduated in spring 2022 with a degree in health sciences from California State University, East Bay, Paxtor has been putting her studies and her passion into action.

With support from her coach at Making Waves, Paxtor completed several internship programs, including most recently working on making health care more equitable and improving care for underserved communities in the Bay Area’s San Leandro.

“I feel that I’m a more confident person now. My college experience was more stress-free knowing that I had people there to help me out both financially and in life.”

Reflecting on her accomplishments in college — culminating in graduating with honors — Paxtor shared: “Graduation was very emotional for my family. It was a huge milestone because I’m the first person to graduate from college in my family.”

“Reaching college graduation is evidence for me that I can do anything and that I’m strong.”
Alison Paxtor
Alison Paxtor celebrating graduation with her mother

Engineering a College and Career Plan

Tony Ayala had just been accepted to San Jose State University when he found out about the scholarships and coaching offered by Making Waves Foundation.

“It was the cherry on top. The program has been super helpful for me throughout my college career — academically, financially, and mentally,” said Ayala, who is now a first-generation graduate having earned an engineering degree in 2022.

During college, Ayala looked to gain engineering experience. The timing was good because Making Waves’ coaching team was piloting programs around career development.

“I wanted to be able to learn as much as possible,” shared Ayala, who brought up his aspirations with his college coach, Paola Cadena, who is now senior manager of early career and alumni. Together, they made the process less intimidating and came up with a plan through which Ayala landed an internship at the Walsh Group as a project intern. The internship experience then led to a full-time job offer as a project engineer following his graduation from San Jose State — an offer Ayala happily accepted.

Tony Ayala celebrating graduation from San Jose State University with his parents
Tony Ayala at an engineering job site

Making a Career Out of Offering Students Careers

After graduating from UC Davis and starting her career as a teacher in Richmond through Teach for America, Wave-Maker alumna Ariadna Diaz then moved into the technology industry — leading to her current role as a university recruiter at Meta (Facebook’s parent company).

During our I Am A Wave-Maker Conference, Diaz led a career development workshop, speaking about her passion for educational technology and how she made the transition from teacher to recruiter. She shared her knowledge ranging from updating LinkedIn profiles to reaching out to new contacts to negotiating higher salaries.

“My favorite part is working with students, helping students, and being a mentor and guide for them. It’s really rewarding to let students know you have a job for them — a job that will change their lives and their family’s lives. I still have to pinch myself that I get to do that.”

Running Toward Dreams and Giving Back

A former track and field student-athlete who earned a degree in kinesiology and exercise science from Sonoma State University, Wave-Maker Garvey Buchongo has a passion for running after her dreams and giving back to her community.

Buchongo founded The Freedom to Run Project, a charitable organization that collects used running shoes and other equipment for youth who might not otherwise have access.

Buchongo credits her time in college as providing her with more confidence, leadership experience, and preparation for her career.

“With the scholarship and the coaching came this huge support and community aspect of Making Waves. The coaching was my favorite part. It really helped with navigating college as a first-generation college student.”

Buchongo recently started a dream job at Brooks Running. Her work includes testing athletic sneakers and apparel and supporting diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, such as ensuring testing is more inclusive of diverse communities. At the same time, Buchongo has been launching a scholarship and mentorship program to expand the accessibility of competing in track and field in college.

“It’s always been my passion to give back to the community.”
Garvey Buchongo
Ariadna Diaz


Thank you to our donors for your generous contributions between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. Without your support, our work would not be possible.

$1,000,000+ John H. and Regina K. Scully Foundation

$250,000+ Horatio Alger Association Suzanne Duca

Mary and Ron Nahas Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock

$100,000+ Christine and Reece Duca Christina and Hamid Moghadam

Emily and John Scully Tipping Point Community *

$50,000+ Anonymous

Kathryn and Dustin Peterson

The University of Chicago - My Very Own Library

$25,000+ Mary Ann and Ronald Cohan Dana and Robert Emery Carol and Robert Momsen

Silver Giving Foundation Quest Foundation Quest Fund *

$10,000+ Allen Matkins Foundation *

Dodge & Cox

Norma and Phillip Gordon Margaret and Michael McCaffery

Palmedo Family Foundation Leigha and Eli Weinberg Western Alliance Bank

Sarah Wright Ryan and J. Stuart Ryan

Zalec Familian and Lilian Levinson Foundation

$5,000+ Derrick Bolton Lori and Ray Crawford Hendrickson Family Foundation * Kristin Hite

Betsy and Ed McDermott MWSL, Inc.

Deborah and Jonathan Parker Barbara and Richard Shoop Studio Bondy Architecture

Lisa and Ted Williams

$1,000+ Anonymous

Susan and James Bartlett Marian Berg Jacquelyn and James Christensen Edith and William Dagley Darcy H. and Richard Deming Gerald Fairclough *

Theresa Fay-Bustillos

Kimball Foundation

Pam and Michael Franklin

Jane and Paul Foster

Sharon Henning and George A. Goin

Alicia Malet Klein and Tom Klein Sidney Landman and Margalit Ashira Ir

Emily and John Lumpkin

Colleen and Charlie Malet Kim Marie Summers-Silva Trust

Robert Moor

Sharalyn and Garen Staglin Madeline and Isaac Stein

Pauline and Thomas Tusher

$500+ Claudia Alvarez

Annie Barrows and Jeff Goldstein

Blythedale Rebekah Lodge #305 Crosspoint Realty Services

Lindsay and Terry Eakin

Google Mazzie and Charles Gogolak

Margie and David Guggenhime Claire Janin ^* Carla Javits and Margaret Cecchetti

Patrick O’Donnell and Joe Shook Alton B. Nelson, Jr. and Jennifer Henry Wendy Nielsen ^* Patricia Palmer


Up to $499

Riley Abeles ^*

Rachelle Aberin and Andres Orozco Bridget Anderson and Roy Latka Anonymous (13)

Bash Creative * Leslie Blackburn *

Donald Briggs, Jr. Gabriella and Stephen Bowling Damali Burton

Patricia and John Cahill Mary Callahan and Sheppard Ranbom

Andres Campos and Hilda Martinez

Lulu Chen and Qi Ping Tang Brittney Cintron ^* Murray Cohen

Penny and Gregory Edwards Theresa and George Eisenberg Ittai Eres ^*

Laura and Paul Escobosa Guillermo Gallardo Matias Gallego-Manzano * David Gilbert ^* Maya Gomez ^* Leslie and Don Hallenbeck

Corinne Hedrick

Emily Hugo ^* Esther and Wallace Hugo Jovita Jordan + Amelia Joslin ^* Helen Jupiter and Matthew Cohan Kande Photo Booths * Nina and Robert Leslie Molly McGee Randisi Sheila McGee

William McShea * James and Patricia Melehan George Miller Edward Moffatt

Reyna Morales + Hannah Morley ^* Aiyana Mourtos * Andrew Mughannam Ellen O’Donnell ^* John O’Donnell ^* Shelagh O’Donnell ^* Wendy and Fred Parkin Richard Patrick Erick Roa * Marika Rossillon ^*

Bonnie Shea and Brendan McShea ^* Emma Steele ^*

Diana and Jonathan Stern Jen Thomas and Brandon Cohan

Luong Tran + University of Wisconsin, Whitewater Jamil Vallis-Walker Destinie Vindel ^* Candace and G. James Williams Chris and Steve Wilsey Macy Yip + ^* Grace Zhang * Tommy Zhang * Lianhuan Zhao ^*

Wave-Maker Circle

Thank you to alumni from Making Waves Academy or Making Waves Foundation programs who have donated to either organization in the past year.

Claudia Alvarez

Irania De La Mora

Karla Diaz-Lara Guillermo Gallardo Corina Garcia Ajani Jackson

* New Donor

^ Cohan Challenge Grant Participant

+ Recurring Monthly Donor

Jovita Jordan

Andres Orozco Juan Sarabia Grace Zhang Tommy Zhang

Special Thanks

Bank of America Charitable Foundation

Benevity Community Impact Fund Charles Schwab Fidelity Charitable Google (Google Ad Grant)

J.P. Morgan Charitable Giving Fund Marin Community Foundation

Morgan Stanley San Francisco Foundation Schwab Charitable Silicon Valley Community Foundation Stanford University

TRUiST by Frontstream Vanguard Group YourCause


“Your contribution has made a great impact on my college experience and my future. Having the guidance from my coach and my financial services coordinator has made my transition into college smoother and less intimidating as I encounter many new experiences. The opportunity to attend college grants me many opportunities that no one in my family has experienced, while giving me the ability to challenge my perspectives, make valuable connections, and develop a greater sense of identity.”

Campus for Equity in Education

Making Waves Academy was co-founded by John H. and Regina K. Scully in fall 2007. In spring 2022, Making Waves Foundation dedicated the 20-acre campus as the Campus for Equity in Education, emphasizing Making Waves’ commitment to address disparities in education and recognizing John H. and Regina K. Scully’s extraordinary vision and longstanding support to reduce inequity and advance educational opportunities.

Pictured left to right: Ron Nahas, Alicia Malet Klein, Regina K. Scully, John H. Scully, Patrick O’Donnell, Derrick Bolton, Alton B. Nelson, Jr.



In Fiscal Year 2022, We Raised $19.3 million In Fiscal Year 2022, We Invested $12.4 million in operating expenses

In Fiscal Year 2022, We Supported 575 Wave-Makers in college with an average scholarship amount of $3,300 per student and one-to-one college and financial coaching valued at $4,700 per student

Total Assets

$245 million

This primarily represents Making Waves Academy’s campus and the Foundation’s office

figures are unaudited
Allocation of Expenses For more information, please see our financials webpage Note: FY22
Program Services: 81% ($15,472,350) Management/ Administration: 17% ($3,215,386) Fundraising: 2% ($322,346)


Board of Directors

John H. Scully

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

Ronald A. Cohan

Public Contracts Lawyer

Michael B. Yuen

Retired Partner, SPO Partners & Co.

Steve Blass Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Ashe Capital

Derrick Bolton

Associate Dean for External Relations, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Theresa Fay-Bustillos

Philanthropic, Business, and Nonprofit Executive

Phil Gordon Partner, Perkins Coie LLP

Ajani Jackson

M.D., Adult, Adolescent, and Child Psychiatrist

Sid Landman

Retired SCORE Counselor

Alicia Malet Klein

President, HeadsUp Public Education Foundation; Board President, Making Waves Academy; Retired GATE Teacher

Regina K. Scully

Philanthropist, Filmmaker, Founder and CEO Artemis Rising Foundation Jonathan Stern CEO, SnapStrat

Eli Weinberg

Managing Partner, Filbert Holdings


College and Alumni Program Advisory


Derrick Bolton

Associate Dean for External Relations, Stanford Graduate School of Business Ronald A. Cohan Public Contracts Lawyer

Dr. Esther Hugo Education Specialist

Board members and committee members as of October 1, 2022.

Ron Nahas

Partner, Rafanelli and Nahas LLP

Cindi Nicolas

Chief Operating Officer, Integrated Payor Solutions

Enrique Romero Associate, Social Policy Research Associates



Students Have Big Dreams. Let’s Help Make Them a Reality.

We believe that if young people are thriving in a career with financial independence, then they can live a life of their choosing and make their dreams come alive. But, for too many young people, college and career opportunities aren’t a reality.

The Barriers

Students from low-income backgrounds and students of color often face systemic barriers and don’t always have access to educational opportunities, career networks, and financial resources.

Nationally, among first-generation students from lowincome backgrounds who attend college, only about 20% graduate with a bachelor’s degree within six years (Pell Institute). In Contra Costa County, only 30% of high school graduates enroll at a four-year college or university (CA Department of Education). Over the past 30 years, tuition has increased by 150% at public and by 96% at private colleges (Forbes) and students from the lowest income quartile owe on average $32,500 in debt (Education Data Initiative).

“I feel like a big part of me reaching this milestone has been the confidence that I have gained to speak my mind and my truth.”


We Know a Different World is Possible

We support students from low-income backgrounds — who are primarily first-generation students of color — in overcoming systemic barriers to pursue college and career goals by providing:

• Access to college and career knowledge

• College scholarships and financial planning

• College coaching around academics, career, community, scholarships, and wellness

• Career pathways, professional development, and networking opportunities

“With the scholarship and the coaching came this huge support and community aspect of Making Waves. It really helped with navigating college as a first-generation college student.”


Increasing College Attendance and Graduation Rates

We are uniquely positioned to scale our reach, serve more students from low-income backgrounds, and have an incredible impact in education.

We are partnering with high schools across the Bay Area’s Contra Costa County to help increase college attendance and graduation rates, starting with Pittsburg High School. Thirty-two Pittsburg High graduates are now a part of our college success program and have a 100% persistence rate.

We’ve learned that many students in Contra Costa County are eligible to attend a four-year college but choose not to. Because of this, we are focusing on supporting this group of students on their path to college through:

• Scholarships and coaching for college

• In-person and online resources about college admissions, financial aid, decisions

• A new AI college advisor to get college information and resources (in multiple languages!) directly into the hands of students and families via text message



Join Us in Making Waves

Whether you are interested in learning more about our programs, partnering with us to support Wave-Makers, or contributing to our work advancing educational opportunity, please reach out to CEO Patrick O’Donnell at

With your support, we can provide opportunities for thousands more students to pursue their dreams.

Membres is studying graphic design at Sacramento State University.
Ke’ve’veon Chilton is studying biology at San Francisco State University.

“As a first generation, low-income, underrepresented student, college was never on my radar as a high schooler because I wasn’t really aware of the steps I needed to take, as I was only exposed to know about the financial burden,” shared Anthony Jacobo Gonzalez, a Wave-Maker at UC Davis.

“However, the scholarship from Making Waves Foundation has supported my journey in college by alleviating that financial cost. The coaching aspect has also been pivotal to my development as a student and as an individual.”

Making Wa ve s Foundat ion

Join Us in Making Waves!

We invite you to reach out, learn more, and get involved.

Special thanks: Acton Circle, Alicia K. Gonzales, Amy Perl Photography, Rebecca Spin