Esperanca Inc

A nonprofit organization

8 donors

Esperança is a global health non-profit that provides life-changing programs to over 100,000 people a year. We send volunteer surgical teams to Latin America to operate on families who may never have seen a doctor before, we train & educate poor families to grow nutritious food, build safe housing, access clean water and prevent and treat diseases. What makes us unique is that everything is done by local families using local materials. Here in Phoenix, we have robust health outreach program that is centered on oral health, nutrition and exercise. 


Through the years we have been in 14 different countries and currently we are working in the United States, Bolivia, Mozambique and Nicaragua. We have been in Arizona for 43 years and have been able to improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people because of the vision of two brothers, Luke and Jerry Tupper.

Luke Tupper got his first close look at medical deprivation and poverty in 1960 while traveling to the South Pole abroad a U.S. Navy ice-breaker bound for Antarctic.  The 26-year old Medical College of Wisconsin graduate couldn’t believe his eyes when the shipped docked along the coast of South America.  He went ashore and saw families living in shacks built on islands of trash in open sewers, children with swollen bellies sat listlessly in front of mud-and-stick hovels and adults coughed up blood into dirty rags.  These images haunted Luke for many years.

When his military service was completed, he entered the Franciscan Order. After his ordination, Father Luke was assigned to Brazil and began the overwhelming task of bringing medical care to the people of that region. In 1970, as Father Tupper continued his mission abroad, his brother, Jerry, an attorney in Phoenix, Ariz., incorporated the nonprofit organization, Esperança, to support Luke’s tireless efforts.

During this time, Luke encountered about 250,000 people in the Central Amazon Region who needed medical care, but it took them up to three days to travel by boat to reach the Esperança clinic. In 1972, Esperança solved that problem with the purchased  of the San Diego passenger ferry, the Point Loma, for $15,000. Over the course of 18 months, with donated materials and volunteer labor, the Point Loma was converted to the hospital ship Esperança.

Ten years after arriving in Brazil, Esperança’s medical and surgical facilities were moved on shore.  Today, the Fundaçao Esperança occupies a full city block with up-to-date medical facilities. They are a self-sustaining operation after 30 years of financial support from Esperança, Inc.

Father Luke worked tirelessly and selflessly for six years (1969-1975) in the Amazon jungle. He returned to the U.S. to pursue a residency in ophthalmology, but sadly, was killed in a motorcycle accident in 1978. But, his legacy of service and sacrifice lives on today through Esperança’s work.


Organization Data


Organization name

Esperanca Inc

Tax id (EIN)



Children & Family




(602) 252-7772