Why It Started
Our Founder’s Story
Project Lolo is the creation of Leslie Pitt Schneider, its founder and president. Educated in Law, Nursing, Biology, and Global Health and Human Rights, Leslie’s professional experiences have shown her the reality of providing healthcare access to people who need it most. She has extensive professional experience in a global medical device company, direct patient care and healthcare administration. Leslie has served on the Boards of Directors for national and regional non-profit organizations with leadership lobbying efforts at the Federal and State-levels for Parity legislation focusing on access to orthopedic care and devices.
In 2007, after reading a United Nations report describing the too-often unfair conditions facing children with disabilities in developing countries, Leslie felt a compelling need to act. Though she didn’t know what to do, or how to do it, she knew she had to do something about it. Seeking to partner with other global organizations focusing on the same needs for these children, Leslie found there were none with the same scope.
Ten years and a Graduate certificate in Global Health and Human Rights later, she founded Project Lolo with the sole purpose of helping children get access to orthopedic medical care and devices. She believes that Project Lolo’s efforts will raise the awareness of children living with differing orthopedic abilities by zealously advocating that their voices be heard.
“At some point in our lives, we all experience things that forever impact us in profound ways. It’s part of the ‘human experience.’ And while those life-changing experiences forever change us, we all have the innate ability to want to overcome obstacles, but not be in positions to do so. That's why Project Lolo will provide children with the 'tools' they need.”
Leslie understands the realities of children living with differing abilities because of her own life’s events. At the age of six years old, on the first day of summer vacation after 1st grade, Leslie was involved in a traumatic accident that nearly cost her life.
She spent the entire summer in the hospital while undergoing multiple surgeries and seemingly-endless hours of physical therapy. Through her self-proclaimed tenacity and the tremendous strength of her parents, her brother, her extended family and friends, Leslie adopted the mindset that nothing would stop her from missing the first day of second grade.
And three months after her accident, she was back in school with her friends and back into everything she loved to do, like tap-dancing and playing with her brother and friends.
Though never defined by her own trauma, Leslie gratefully acknowledges how it has shaped her into who she is today. She knows that life has granted her endless experiences that would never have happened, otherwise. It’s for this reason that Leslie humbly shares the gifts she’s received by founding Project Lolo.
“I feel so fortunate to have been given this life of mine. I was so impacted by learning the reality of children after reading the United Nations 'Report on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities' and knew I had to do something. It's appalling that children are denied basic human rights by virtue of their 'disability' in many parts of the world. At the time, I really didn't know how to help, but I just knew I had to help. And almost ten years later, Project Lolo is how to help.”
Leslie Pitt Schneider, J.D.
Founder & President
Leslie Pitt Schneider, J.D. has twenty-five years of healthcare experience in direct patient care as a pediatric nurse and eventually as a hospital administrator. With a propensity for finding innovative healthcare delivery solutions with a primary focus on patient advocacy, Leslie has executed multiple, healthcare system initiatives.
Her professional experience includes healthcare system executive leadership, legal and regulatory compliance, clinical nursing, and clinical laboratory medicine. Her community involvement includes Board of Director appointments for national and regional non-profit organizations, as well as, membership on the University of Minnesota’s Research Subjects’ Protection Program. With a respected track-record of getting results, Leslie has lobbied in Washington, D.C. and Minnesota for Fair Insurance legislation and facilitated a change in the United States Transportation Safety Administration’s (TSA) screening procedures.
A sought-after public speaker and media correspondent, Leslie has been the voice for issues directly facing people living with differing orthopedic abilities. She has authored numerous articles and is soon to release her first children’s book in the Fall of 2018.
Her passion for developing and launching Project Lolo has been her greatest achievement, to date, and she believes that even impacting one child’s life will be a success.
Director & Vice President
Gregory Pitt’s twenty-five years of professional experience has ranged from being a professional ski instructor to directing patient care for an Orthotic and Prosthetic Clinic. In his roles, he has found that working directly with patients and their families as amongst his favorite.
He has extensive volunteer ski-instructor experience different adaptive ski programs in Colorado, Utah and Washington. As Leslie’s brother, he has a different perspective about children living with differing orthopedic abilities and hopes to mentor other children directly and through Project Lolo’s work.
Certified Prosthetist-Orthotist (CPO) Advisor
Michael Leach has over forty years of professional Prosthetist and Orthotist. Currently a Prosthetic Product Manager for worldwide design, development and fabrication leader of customizable orthotic/prosthetic solutions, Orthomerica, Michael also formerly contributed to the success of other leading O&P and rehabilitative care firms, Ottobock and Hanger, Inc.
Michael holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Washington and a Master of Science degree from Indiana University Bloomington. He is purpose-driven to see people achieve their fullest potential. Michael appreciates the life-changing impact orthopedic medical care and assistive devices make for those with differing abilities and recognizes the significant impact Project Lolo’s efforts will have on the pediatric community.
As the CPO Advisor, Michael contributes his expertise to advance Project Lolo’s impact, advises its Board of Directors on technical orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) matters and supports the development of unique, informative content.
Director & Secretary
Lisa is a twenty-five year veteran of elementary education. She holds undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Pre-Kindergarden through sixth grade elementary teaching and learning. Lisa has taught in both private and public school settings and currently teaches Kindergarden through fifth grade Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education in Minneapolis, MN.
Her passions in teaching led her to be a member of the Science Museum of Minnesota NEXUS team for eight years. The focus of this group is to find ways to improve access and equity in STEM education. Lisa has also done extensive training and teaching around coding for elementary-aged students.
Lisa envisions the scope of Project Lolo to benefit children directly impacted by differing orthopedic abilities, as well as other children, families, educators, school systems, and educational curricula.
Linda Williams, MBA
Director & Treasurer
Linda C. Williams, MBA has over twenty years of professional experience working as a corporate executive, consultant and entrepreneur. She found her niche as a change agent building or growing businesses in the healthcare, consumer goods, and retail industries. Throughout much of her career, she worked in the healthcare arena including a global medical device company, where she met Leslie Pitt Schneider.
Linda supports Leslie’s mission to bring prosthetic care to children in underserved countries and considers it an honor to be on the Board of Project Lolo.
Director & Marketing Advisor
Marisa Schroeder has nearly a decade of public relations, social media and content marketing experience in boutique marketing firms. Seasoned in evaluating needs and providing strategic marketing recommendations, Marisa has provided insight and optimization recommendations for a variety of enterprise-level clients spanning many industries.
With an education in marketing and entrepreneurial leadership, Marisa brings a unique skill set to Project Lolo to help the organization with its communications and outreach. She foresees the tremendous impact that Project Lolo has on making the world a better place for children whose worlds are often unkind.
Brooklyn Francisco is a globally-known and respected professional in the fashion and entertainment industry. When not traveling the world, he resides in the Pacific Northwest where he generously gives of his time and talent by helping under-privileged women in the domestic violence community or lending his services to senior citizens.
As Project Lolo's Ambassador, Brooklyn leads the organization's efforts in raising awareness about Project Lolo, the children it serves, and seeks community partnerships to further the mission.
By being Project Lolo's Ambassador, Brooklyn believes the organization is uniquely positioned to positively change the lives of children.
Project Lolo℠ is an Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-deemed 501 c 3 non-profit, public charity duly incorporated and registered in the State of Minnesota. Donations and gifts made to Project Lolo are considered tax-deductible charitable contributions under this designation. Project Lolo's Federal Tax Identification number is 82-0907110. AmazonSmile and the AmazonSmile logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.