The Cristo Rey Network of schools was founded in 2001 with Portland, OR, being the first school to replicate the model started in Chicago. In 2003, the Network formally organized as a 501(c)(3) organization.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with venture philanthropists B.J. and Bebe Cassin, provided seed funding to promote the replication of the Cristo Rey schools.
The Cristo Rey Network is comprised of over 30 high schools that serve over 10,000 young people from low-income backgrounds, living in urban communities with limited educational options. The Cristo Rey Network of schools was established for students in communities that have limited access to private education. Cristo Rey Network schools employ an innovative Corporate Work Study Program that provides students with real- world work experiences. Every student works five full days a month to fund the majority of his or her education, gain job experience, grow in self-confidence, and realize the relevance of his or her education.