History of Isaías Dassum Health Fund

The Isaías family

This story began for the Isaias family over 100 years ago, when Emilio Isaías arrived in Ecuador in 1912, from Lebanon. For years he worked intensely. They were very hard years for him, but little by little with his children, business began to grow. Their ventures were from very small to very large, from selling fabrics to installing a textile factory, from an importer of construction materials to a sugar mill.

Ecuador, 1912

This ability to grow and innovate allowed the whole family to start other businesses and not only in Ecuador, but also in the United States, where Don Emilio also sent his children to study and then to his grandchildren Estéfano, William and Roberto Isaías Dassum so that they could be prepared to manage business with an international vision.

That enormous desire to take the entrepreneurial route and undertake the growth of business, also gave him the possibility to help people. Something that was marked in family values.

Beginning of the Foundation

Pedro Isaías Barquet, son of Emilio Isaías, was encouraged to buy a small bank called “La Filantrópica”. The dream was to make it grow and grant credits to the fishermen and farmers of Guayaquil, to strengthen the economy of the place, which was stagnant.

The small bank achieved sustained growth and with it, the family’s initiative to help people, who had no access to education, or jobs. At the beginning they wanted to solve part of the situation they had before their eyes, but everyone knew that they required to channel the actions and turn them into a continuous work.

On October 20, 1967, another of Don Emilio’s sons, Nahím Isaías Barquet at that time, president of “La Filantrópica”, met with some executives of the institution and part of the Isaías family, and decided to create the “Fundación La Filantrópica” to give legal form to the work they were doing.

Paint of Nahím Isaías Barquet

The purpose

The institution in its early years, provided family training and job education, so that low-income people could generate profits with artisanal work and at the same time strengthen their self-esteem and grow as individuals.

But in 1985, the situation in the country was complicated and leftist groups were threatening people, institutions and the government itself. In that year Nahím Isaías Barquet was kidnapped by an Ecuadorian subversive group, which was looking for money to finance other Latin American cells. Just at the moment the police were trying to rescue him, his captors killed him.

This day has been remembered by his family and by all Ecuadorians, with pain and hopelessness. However, it gave more strength to the Isaías Dassum brothers to continue with the fundamental purpose of transforming the hard reality into positive.

Roberto & William Isaías Dassum

The Nahím Isaías Foundation

Roberto Isaías and his brothers Estéfano and William in 1988, give the Foundation the name of “Nahím Isaías Barquet”, in honor of the man, the uncle and the friend who for so many years kept his purpose of helping people unwavering, not only in terms of health and education, but in conserving the artistic heritage of the country for future generations.

Medical Center, Nahím Isaías Foundation

A cultural project, which the Isaías Dassum brothers carried out with the pride of having given life to one of the most recognized and admired spaces in the city: the “Nahím Isaías Museum”. A cultural center that exhibits more than 2500 pieces of Quiteño art and pre-Columbian pieces from the Ecuadorian coast.

Nahím Isaías Museum, Guayaquil


Poverty increased in those years. Health was becoming a state problem, because there was no possibility of caring for the most needy people, in the most remote places. The Nahím Isaías Dassum Foundation then considered acting there, where no one arrived.

Under a decision that could be considered heroic, small dispensaries were opened in different provinces: 22 mini health centers equipped and attended by a doctor and nurse to give first aid and general medicine. A project that covered equidistant geographical points and that required supplies and constant supervision.

More than 100,000 people per year were cared for in Guayaquil, Quito, Cuenca, Portoviejo, Manta, Riobamba, Ambato, Machala, Esmeraldas, El Triunfo, Santo Domingo, La Troncal, Ibarra, Loja, Guaranda, Anconcito, Milagro, Jipijapa, Cuenca and Azoguez, until 1998. Date when a new stage began that allowed the foundation to grow.

Map of Ecuador, benefited areas

The vision for the future

The Foundation kept growing over time with its work, Roberto Isaías and his brothers, anticipated the needs that were glimpsed. So they sought international advice with the “American Peace Corps Foundation”, experts in self-sustainable projects.

American Peace Corps Foundation logo

Together they established a new organizational and operational scheme. Also the need to build an enduring infrastructure capable of serving more people.

The Isaias brothers, with their business experience, established very clear investment and development time strategies to meet the goal and open the new centers in strategic places for the community.

The infrastructure of the Foundation had to consider:

  • Ability to serve large numbers of people
  • Areas for the different specialized services
  • Acquisition of basic and last generation medical equipment
  • Have high performance professionals
  • Specialists in family education and integral health

The Consolidation

In due time, the Isaías Dassum brothers managed to open 3 new and modern health centers, in strategic locations in the city of Guayaquil and in 2003 the specialty center.

  • The first Medical Center is inaugurated in the south of Guasmo (June 12, 1998)
  • The second is inaugurated in Milagro (September 11, 1998)
  • The third is inaugurated in Babahoyo (October 29, 1998)
  • The Specialties Center opens (2003)