Learning is growing

The Founder’s stories


Left Ecuador in 1990 and started her higher education in the US. She first earned a business degree, while working in a state government agency. In 2010 she went back to school, this time to study public health, and her studies brought her to teach what she loves: public health. She hopes to inspire others to stay in school and reach their goals. She believes one’s success could help others, and through ECA we can help our Ecuadorian brothers and sisters to learn and grow.


25 years ago, as a Spanish teacher and Academic Coordinator in Quito, Ecuador, Luis guided American and European college students through the most beautiful and hidden gems of Ecuador. During this journey, he started to see the multiple vital needs of the native people living in the Andean region of Ecuador and developed friendships with the leaders of these communities. He soon began thinking about how to ameliorate some of their needs, starting with education. Years later, as a migrant living in Providence, Rhode Island, Luis founded the Ecuador Cultural Alliance (ECA) with the goal to support education in the rural, mostly indigenous communities in the province of Imbabura in northern Ecuador.


Gina is proud to be Ecuadorian and got her bachelor’s degree in Marketing and International business. After a few years working for a consulting firm and later in financial services, Gina went back to school and got her Masters. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and spending time with friends and family. Gina believes education can empower and strengthen individuals and communities and that’s why she’s a supporter of ECA.



For the majority of my career I worked in non-profit management for human services organizations, and I have had a life-long commitment to community activism.  I am also a gardener, ceramic artist, and Reiki practitioner.  I have been very fortunate to spend the last few years teaching children from low-income neighborhoods about urban gardening and environmental issues in conjunction with the Partnership for Providence Parks.  My work with the Ecuador Cultural Alliance grew from my esteem for my first Spanish teacher, Luis Contreras.   I am delighted to support the social justice and educational goals of the Ecuador Cultural Alliance; to enhance the education of indigenous children and to help their families in times of need.  ECA’s mission and objectives perfectly align with my personal mission to reduce suffering and create healing.

General Board Members:

  • Sherilyn Brown, Chair, Nominating Committee
  • Pablo Angumba
  • Hernan Contreras
  • Maria Luisa Contreras
  • Mayte Contreras
  • Sofia Cornejo

    Owen Manahan
    Lucia Moreno
    Andres Nicolalde
    Paola Piedrahita

  • Jaime Zarate
  • Valeria Zarate