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 the only network of high schools in the country that integrate four years of rigorous college preparatory academics with four years of professional work experience through the Corporate Work Study Program. Comprised of 37 Catholic, college- and career-preparatory schools that today serve 12,000 students across 24 states and collectively claim 18,000 graduates, the Cristo Rey Network delivers a powerful and innovative approach to inner-city education that equips students from families of limited economic means with the knowledge, character, and skills to transform their lives.