About Us

In the year 2000, a small group of students and dentists from Loma Linda, California traveled to Nicaragua to provide dental care to the children at a small school in a remote town outside the capital city of Managua. Students, teachers, administrators and the community welcomed our team with open arms, due to the limited access to dental care. The reality of this under-served population’s situation was seen first-hand, as the team found that many of their children had been living with decayed and infected teeth. The locals explained that this was not unusual, since the overwhelming majority continues to experience some level of dental-related pain. From there, the vision for long term impact began to grow.

Throughout the last 13 years, this group has continued to develop relationships with local leaders and organizations. Consistency and continued care has been thought to be the most effective way to empower the people of Nicaragua and ensure lasting results. The Foundation for Worldwide Health (FWH) was established in 2005 and brings down a team of nearly 60 dentists and dental students from Loma Linda University School of Dentistry to help carry out this vision. Along with providing continued care at the small school where it all started, FWH has expanded into five operating clinics in Nicaragua on an annual basis. In 2007, FWH developed a relationship with University Catolica (UNICA), a Catholic University which focused largely on areas of public health, housing both medical and dental schools. Teaming up with UNICA has allowed their Nicaraguan dental students to work side by side with Loma Linda students to provide care to their local people.

In 2010, FWH was invited to provide dental care to a community of coffee growers in a remote town of Boaco in the hills east of Managua. Tierra Nueva Union of Cooperatives consists of 650 coffee growing families with little or no access to dental care. Through the collaboration of the Foundation for Worldwide Health, UNICA, Tierra Nueva and a $30,000 grant from Rotary International, a dental clinic was built and equipped for continued use. When Loma Linda’s dental team is not in country, a rotation of Nicaraguan dental students and professors from UNICA provide dental services on an ongoing basis. The Foundation must see that this clinic continues to impact the lives of that community and look to expand into other areas without opportunity to receive care.

Bringing this dream to fruition requires financial resources. Within the last three years, San Diego dentist, Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, began developing the vision for Cura Coffee Company, combining efforts with Point Loma Nazarene University’s business students to develop a formal business plan. Cura means “care” or “cure” in Latin. In an effort to help provide the needed financial resources, Cura is teaming up with Tierra Nueva Coop to sell their highest quality, organic coffee in the United States, which will be essential to making these clinics sustainable. Cura invites coffee lovers to connect with the growers through this effort. Dr. Fitzpatrick and the rest of the Cura team wants each person who enjoys a cup of Cura Coffee to know that they are helping to sustain these dental services and improve the lives of individuals with little or no access to care. This is direct-trade coffee, with direct impact, brought directly to you, the caring consumer.

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Advisory Board

The Advisory Board plays a key role in shaping the direction and growth of Cura Coffee Company and is responsible for developing and maintaining the character and quality of Cura’s mission for sustained dental care.

Board members are experienced leaders in their communities and respective professions and hold individual prestige in fields of business, education, the law and the arts. The Board meets quarterly to assess and discuss Cura Coffee Company’s vision and the progress toward achieving those goals.

Members of the Board of Advisors include:

Thomas Fitzpatrick

Thomas Fitzpatrick, D.D.S
Founder and CEO, Cura Coffee Co., General and Cosmetic Dentist

Thomas Fitzpatrick is not your everyday dentist. Driven by a passion for serving others and dedicated to quality care for all people, from his local San Diego practices to the far-reaching corners of Nicaragua. Dr. Fitzpatrick began his journey into dentistry earning a B.A. in Biology at Point Loma Nazarene University in 2001 followed by a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at Loma Linda University in 2006. His desire to serve worldwide populations who have little or no access to dental care brought him to a group of co-op coffee farmers in 2006, which inspired him to help establish and sustain a dental clinic for the local people by sourcing their organic, direct-trade beans to create Cura Coffee Company.

Mr. Randy Ataide, M.A., J.D.

Randy Ataide, M.A., J.D.
Senior Counsel to the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute, PLNU

Randy Ataide is a published author and strategic advisor with an extensive background in small business and non-profit entrepreneurship. He teaches and leads the entrepreneurship program at Point Loma Nazarene University, with expertise in small business startups, negotiation strategy and value creation. Ataide holds a B.A. degree in Speech Communication (Magna Cum Laude), a Master’s degree in Theology, and a Juris Doctor degree. As a former CEO and Dean of Business for PLNU, Randy ‘s well-rounded business and legal sense brings matchless strengths to the Cura team.

Ms. Cathy Glallagher

Ms. Cathy Gallagher
Executive Director, Fermanian Business & Economic Institute, PLNU

Cathy Gallagher has extensive knowledge and contacts in the local San Diego business community and is active in a number of business organizations. With over 25 years of business experience and strong relationships with industry leaders, she is able to provide creative solutions to businesses in a dynamic business and economic environment. Prior to her current role as Executive Director of PLNU’s Business program, she served as owner, operator, and manager for several small businesses on the East Coast. Ms. Gallagher holds a B.A. degree in Business Administration from Point Loma Nazarene University. Her dreams of owning her own coffee shop and her passion for serving others, makes Cathy a natural fit for Cura Coffee Company.

Mr. Tony Rodriguez, M.S.

Mr. Tony Rodriguez, M.S.
Chief of Staff and CFO, Seagram Spirits & Wine

Tony Rodríguez serves as a strategic advisor to early stage San Diego companies in the beverage and technology fields as well as coaching startups and small business owners and CEOs. Mr. Rodríguez has invaluable, C-level experience at Warner Bros. and Seagram Spirits & Wine in finance, business strategy, supply chain and general management. Rodríguez holds an M.S. degree in Accounting, NYU Stern Business School and a B.A. degree in Economics, with High Honors from Princeton University. His vast knowledge and experience in various areas, which include the food and beverage industry, in conjunction with a heart for people makes Tony a key player for Cura’s Advisory Board.

Scott Schimmel

Scott Schimmel
President, YouSchool, Inc

Scott Schimmel serves as an innovative mentor, who has a real gift for professional coaching and motivation. Scott dedicates himself to guiding young people serving as President & Chief Guide of YouSchool, an organization dedicated to giving high school and college students the tools and guidance to plan their vocational futures. Mr. Schimmel has a particular skill set for leadership development and has a keen ability to recognize key, deep-rooted information in people, business plans, and strategies that are crucial for progress. Scott received a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, Real Estate and Finance from the University of San Diego. His interdisciplinary business background, along with his desire to bring out the best in others makes Scott a valuable member of the Cura family.

Roger Storer

Roger Storer
Principal, iGroup Design Incorporated

With nearly two decades of experience in the hotel industry, Roger Storer has invaluable experience in areas of financial planning, marketing, purchasing, and project management. Since 1998, Mr. Storer’s dedication to forming and cultivating strong business relationships coupled with a keen attention to detail and exceptional work ethic, has allowed him to manage projects throughout California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii. He currently serves as Chief Design Principal of iGroup Design Incorporated, a purchasing company dedicated to hands-on operation for hospitality needs. Roger earned a Bachelor of Science in Finance from San Diego State University, and has a warm heart for Cura’s vision and mission.

Jane Schmitz, M.B.A.

Jane Schmitz, M.B.A.
Collegiate Professor and Small Business Owner

Professor Jane Schmitz possesses an impressive background in educational and entrepreneurship. Prior to her educational career, teaching business classes for San Diego Unified and Community College Districts, she owned and operated Jane’s Secret Garden in La Mesa, a Café and Bakery, Lady Jane’s Tea Room and Lady Jane Catering, the Village Emporium, a gourmet gift shop, coffeehouse and espresso carts which supported catering functions throughout San Diego County. She is a “serial entrepreneur” with valuable start-up experiences and brings a world of direct experience to Cura Coffee’s development in the coffee industry.

Mark Christenson, M.B.A.

Mark Christenson
President, International and Global CTO, Md7

Mark Christenson serves as the President, International and Global CTO of Md7, a network real estate management company. Mark’s knowledge in the wireless industry dates back to 1995, where his experience as COO and CTO serving large clients in customer relationship management, e-commerce solutions, business process outsourcing and large-scale systems integration. Mark served for four years as an officer in the Navy after receiving his Bachelor’s Degree from Stanford University. Since his father was a dentist, Mark shares Cura’s passion for positive impact on people’s lives through sustainable dental care.