The Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation was established in 1995 to honor the lasting legacy of former Ecuadorian president, Galo Plaza Lasso. Lasso was the first to introduce rural education to Ecuador, starting schools in his properties in the late 1940s, creating a supplemental household income through embroidery programs in the 1960s, and tirelessly promoting the conservation of the country’s native forests. Today, The Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation is administered by Lasso’s ancestors—staff members of Hacienda Zuleta—and strives to build upon his foundation through improving the educational, environmental, and socioeconomic wellbeing of the Zuleta community and outlying areas within Ecuador’s Imbabura province.

Lasso’s original Embroidery Project still lives on through the foundation by helping local women disseminate and market their wares, while the Educational Project funds 14 basic needs scholarships and the stewardship of the Zuleta Library, where children can gain assistance with their schoolwork and the larger community can benefit from classes on organic agriculture, responsible citizenship, recycling, and sustainable living. There is also a Conservation Project dedicated to protecting seven rescued condors at Hacienda Zuleta and the Archaeology Project for the preservation and ongoing research of Caranqui, the largest Pre-Incan archaeology site in the region.

Every South America reservation made through Ker & Downey generates a donation to the Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation for the Zuleta library and its education programs. To learn more about The Galo Plaza Lasso Foundation’s work in the Andes, please visit their website.