OUR STORY

La Isla Foundation Co-Founder Jason Glaser embarked to Central America in 2008 to investigate human rights abuses in the banana industry for his documentary film Banana Land. On his trip, Jason met former sugar cane cutter and community leader Juan Salgado, who introduced him to the epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of non Traditional Causes (CKDnT), which he learned was killing thousands of sugarcane workers every year. Outside the Nicaraguan city of Chichigalpa, the small community of La Isla is referred to as “La Isla de las Viudas” (“The Island of Widows”), reflecting the reality of life in a community where many men were dying young, leaving behind their families.

After losing a friend, a father of four who died of CKDnT, Glaser changed course. He put his film project on hold, and together with Juan Salgado, founded La Isla Foundation in March of 2008. With our partners, we have built a powerful international network of experts in public health, nephrology, geography, environmental science, psychology, epidemiology and law from leading universities and institutions dedicated to CKDnT research and interventions. LIF works at the intersection of public health and human rights to reverse the rising rates of the epidemic.

VISION & GOALS

Our purpose is to ensure adequate industry regulation to protect the health of workers, corporate compliance with such regulations, and consistent government enforcement of applicable laws at all levels to prevent similar public health crises.

Facilitate research to identify the cause of the CKDnT epidemic in Western Nicaragua and implement necessary interventions to support affected workers and prevent future generations from becoming ill.

Document labor conditions and influence corporations and governmental policies to address this epidemic and ensure that such work-related epidemics do not occur in the future.

Empower community members to take charge of their own health and rights through organization, education, and infrastructure development.

Create a broad base of international support for an intervention that includes consumers, workers, and producers, by fostering media attention and creating original media content.

OUR FOUR PILLARS

Public Health

Facilitate research to find the causes of CKDnT and implement interventions.

Law and Human Rights

Strengthening protective policies and ensuring compliance.

Community Development

Empowering communities through infrastructure projects and
alternative education.

Media and Communications

Creating bridges between those affected and the broader global public.

STAFF

EXECUTIVE

Jason Glaser
Co-Founder and CEO
jason@laislafoundation.org

Juan Salgado
Co-Founder and President

BOARD OF DIRECTORS – US

Melissa Wojnaroski
Chair
melissa@laislafoundation.org

Ryan Scales
Vice Chair of Policy and Governance
ryan@laislafoundation.org

Steven Kopstein
Vice Chair of Finance and Fundraising
steven@laislafoundation.org

Linda Glaser
Finance Secretary
linda@laislafoundation.org

Vicki Gass
Board Member
vicki@laislafoundation.org

Kevin Ogorzalek
Board Member
kogorzalek@laislafoundation.org

BOARD OF DIRECTORS – NICARAGUA

Juan Salgado
President

Eugenia Cantillano
Vice-President

Cristhian Velasquez
Secretary

Yheizzi Otero
Treasurer

Amparo Santana
Vocal

PUBLIC HEALTH

Ilana Weiss
Senior Director of Public Health & Policy
ilana@laislafoundation.org

Dorien Faber
Public Health Project Manager
dorien@laislafoundation.org

LAW AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Josephine Weinberg
Director, Law & Human Rights
josephine@laislafoundation.org

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

Katie Stark
Director of Community Development
katie@laislafoundation.org

Cristhian Velasquez
Community Coordinator

Maria Eugenia Cantillano
Community Coordinator

MEDIA AND COMMUNICATIONS

Tom Laffay
Media Producer and Communications Manager
tom@laislafoundation.org

Jammie Mountz
Graphic Designer and Web Development Specialist
jammie@laislafoundation.org

DEVELOPMENT

Jen Rock
Co-Director of Development
jrock@laislafoundation.org

Timothy Esser-Haines
Co-Director of Development
tesserhaines@laislafoundation.org

EDUCATION AND HOSPITALITY

Orlando Morales
Manager of Educational Programs
omorales@laislafoundation.org

Kizzy Moreira
Facilities and Hospitality Manager
kizzy@laislafoundation.org

Gladys López
Spanish School Coordinator
gladys@laislafoundation.org

Darling Torres
HR Coordinator of Interns and Volunteers
darling@laislafoundation.org

PARTNERS

  • The Pulsera Project
    The Pulsera Project

    The Pulsera Project is a nonprofit organization that educates, empowers, and connects young Nicaraguan artisans with U.S. students through the sale of their colorful handwoven pulseras (bracelets) in U.S. schools. Since 2009, over 300 school communities have rallied around a simple idea—that by sharing art, knowledge, and ideas across cultural lines we can make the world a more just and colorful place.

    • Fairfood International
      Fairfood InternationalEnsuring food has a future

      Fairfood International is a nonprofit organization advocating increased sustainability in the food and beverage industry. Through proactive dialogue with corporate decision makers, Fairfood encourages companies to address social, environmental and economic issues in their supply chains. Established by volunteers in 2002, Fairfood has offices worldwide and is presently in contact with more than 2500 companies in 76 countries.

      • Solidaridad
        SolidaridadChange that matters

        Making markets work for the poor by creating fair and sustainable supply chains.