In 1996 Father John Foley launched the first Cristo Rey High School in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. It implemented a rigorous college preparatory curriculum with an innovative Corporate Work Study Program whereby students work five days each month in an entry-level job at a professional company, with the fee for their work being directed to underwrite tuition costs. The Cristo Rey Network (CRN) was founded in 2001 in order to franchise the model nationally. There are now 37 CRN schools serving more than 13,000 exclusively low-income students nationwide. The Drexel Fund has supported the growth and development of five Cristo Rey schools. Two are current portfolio members:
- Cristo Rey Miami High School opened in fall 2022 in Miami, Florida and will reach capacity of 448 9-12th grade students in 2027-28.
- Cristo Rey Research Triangle High School opened in fall 2021 in Durham, North Carolina and will reach a capacity of 342 9-12th grade students in 2024-25.