About Our Founder
The Institute’s Founder, Ismael Hernandez, grew up in Puerto Rico the son of a committed Marxist and a founding member of the Socialist Party. He was raised to believe that America was the enemy of humanity and it was his duty to destroy her. Conversely, his mother was a Catholic who made sure her children attended Mass each week.
Ismael was a communist while studying at the University of Puerto Rico and active in the Socialist Party. He entered a Jesuit seminary during the time when liberation theology and the Nicaraguan Sandinista Revolution were very influential in Central America.
When he came to America to attend graduate school, his experiences began to slowly shatter his preconceived notions about this country. He was embraced by Americans and given opportunities he could never have imagined. He began to read writings of and about America’s Founding Fathers and learned the principles of America’s origins. At this point he began to believe in the truth of freedom and reject the lies of socialism.
Ismael finished his Masters Degree in Political Sciences and came to live with his wife Crystal in Fort Myers, Florida. Soon, he became the executive director of the African Caribbean American Catholic Center in the Catholic Diocese of Venice. There, Ismael began to implement his vision of true compassion based on self-reliance, individual freedom and a rejection of dependency and entitlement. This activity eventually led to the creation of the Institute for the purpose of mobilizing people to learn and defend the values he has come to embrace.