We Shall Overcome          ~         Foundation

Isaias Gamboa 
Founder and President, We Shall Overcome Foundation

Contact: 626-222-890-two 



The We Shall Overcome Foundation was founded in 2012 by Isaias Gamboa. His motivation in doing so was driven by his dedication to serving the poor, marginalized, and needy, which is rooted in his faith-based values and beliefs. Born in San José, Costa Rica to parents of Spanish and African ancestry, although born of maternal Jewish lineage, Isaias was raised in Christian Catholic and Baptist traditions, being the respective religious backgrounds of his parents. He is an avid student of the HOLY BIBLE and describes himself as a student of the follower of the love-based, and service-based examples and teachings of Jesus Christ. Isaias believes that love, kindness and compassion for the poor and needy, are the only true measures of divine faith, obedience and discipleship. 


Throughout his childhood, Isaias traveled through Mexico and many Central American countries with his family, where he witnessed his parents demonstrate their faith in God through acts of love, kindness, and compassion to those in need. Their example made a lasting impression on him. As an adult, Isaias has traveled to eight Latin American countries in service of those most in need. In war and drug-ravaged regions, he has witnessed divine love and joy yet also has had automatic weapons held to his head. He found all these experiences life-affirming.


In 2010, while in Brazil to donate toys and clothing to the poor, Isaias formed a strong relationship with three orphanages. The suffering of these—mostly Afro-Brazilian children reminded him of the cruelty, abuse, and hardships he witnessed suffered by African Americans in South Central Los Angeles, where he lived. These and other formative experiences led him to establish the We Shall Overcome Foundation. 


Isaias began playing musical instruments as a young boy, nudged on by his Baptist mother, who played piano and sang Christian hymns to him before bed. As a young girl, she herself had been taught these hymns by missionaries, in Puerto Limón, Costa Rica. Before long, his affinity for music was noticed by his parents and later, discovered by the music industry. While still in his teens, Isaias was signed to Arista Records and began his 2-decade long career as a recording artist, music-producer, music-publisher, songwriter, recording engineer, musician and arranger. He has served as a voting member of the Grammy® organization and written more than 200 songs with Grammy® and multiple RIAA® Platinum and Gold awards along the way. He is also a 40-year member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). 


In 2012 Isaias published his first book, "We Shall Overcome: Sacred Song on the Devil's Tongue".  He also produced an accompanying self-narrated, and dramatized 4-CD audio-book. This book and audio book, are definitive guides to the true history of the powerful and globally revered protest anthem, "We Shall Overcome". The book also reveals his discovery of the extraordinary woman from Cincinnati, whom he believes to be the original author of, We Shall Overcome; Rev. Mother Louise Shropshire. Louise Shropshire was a close friend of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, and Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey.  Isaias' book and audio book also explore the historical attitudes of Black-exploitation, subjugation and racism in America by "non culture-bearers". 

In 2010, Isaias began documenting his research into he origins of We Shall Overcome on film. This footage would evolve into a feature-length documentary film, written, directed and edited by Isaias, which is scheduled for independent release in 2023.


In 2016, the We Shall Overcome Foundation, led by Isaias Gamboa, filed a class-action lawsuit in the Southern District of New York, that sought to free the civil rights anthem, We Shall Overcome from the illegitimate control and exploitation of, The Richmond Organization (TRO) - a powerful music publishing company that had claimed control of the global protest and freedom anthem for nearly 60 years, following the 1963 March on Washington. In January of 2018, the We Shall Overcome Foundation won its fight.The Richmond Organization was forced to pay nearly Million of dollars in legal fees, and relinquish all rights to the African American hymn, which is now in the public domain.


For 20 years, Isaias Gamboa served his Los Angeles community as a licensed California real estate broker, and owner of Beautiful Homes Real Estate, where he held free workshops for first-time home buyers from poor and underserved communities. He is also an ordained and licensed Christian minister, certified carpenter, Authorized OSHA 500 Trainer, Certified NCCER Carpentry Craft Instructor, certificated high school career tech educator, licensed competitive youth soccer coach and licensed FAA Commercial SUAS pilot. 

In 2014, Isaias re-located from Los Angeles to Cincinnati, to complete the documentary film he was directing about the true origins of We Shall Overcome. While there, he offered to restore an extraordinary residence that once served as a safe-house for the "Underground Railroad". Not long afterwards, he, came to observe the same racial and economic disparities he had seen in Los Angeles, and decided to establish the, Cincinnati Construction Academy, and later, Mr' G's Home-Care Bootcamp.


With the considerable support of non-profit partners such as Easterseals, The United Way, and The Cincinnati Tool Bank, The We Shall Overcome Foundation has established two programs; the "CINCINNATI CONSTRUCTION ACADEMY", and "MR. G's HOME CARE BOOT CAMP". 

The Cincinnati Construction Academy provides mentorship, training and other resources to at-risk African American and minority-youth, and previously adults who reside in the most vulnerable and under-served communities of Cincinnati, Ohio. These programs were born from, the Brother and Sisterhood of Minority Tradesmen, which in 2010, was established and led by Isaias in Los Angeles, California. 

"Mr. G's Home Care Boot Camp" is a series of rigorous weekend workshops, that provides hands-on introduction in basic-carpentry, hand tools, power tools, and home-care skills, to residents of Cincinnati's for, underserved and underrepresented communities. 


Along with generous, caring and dedicated volunteers, Isaias continues to devote quality time to humanitarian efforts in the US, Brazil and Costa Rica.


Isaias Gamboa

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Isaias Gamboa | Credits | AllMusic

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Isaias Gamboa with Lay Sisters of Brazilian Orphanage in Bahia, Brazil

Isaias Gamboa with lay sisters of the Brazilian Orphan School

Isaias Gamboa with We Shall Overcome Foundation volunteers in Salvador Bahia, Brazil

Isaias Gamboa at Brazilian Children's Home
                Isaias Gamboa in Detroit with Congressman John Conyers

 Isaias Gamboa with Civil Rights Hall of Fame icon, Rev. Otis Moss Jr. 

Isaias Gamboa in DC with Civil Rights Activist and Icon, Congressman John Lewis

Isaias Gamboa with Bishop Bobby Hilton (President of National Action Network, Greater Cincinnati Chapter )

Isaias Gamboa with Andrew Young And Dr. Eric Abercrumbie
Isaias Gamboa at Hebrew Union College with Rabbi Dr, Gary Zola; Director, Lee Daniels; Richard "Dick" Weiland, Rev. Dr. CW Newsome, Rev. Otis Moss Jr., Gold Medal Olympian Harrison Dillard and Rev. Jim Vickers
Isaias Gamboa with film director, Lee Daniels

Isaias Gamboa in Cleveland with legendary Olympian, Harrison Dillard 

Isaias Gamboa at Arms of God orphan school in Salvador Bahia, Brazil