Five Questions for Marile Lopez
Not too long ago – the glossy photos are still being published on news pages – at Branches’ 16th annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans gala, Marile & Jorge Luis Lopez Esq. were presented with the Trish and Dan Bell Community Empowerment Award. With over 500 attendees at the JW Marriott Marquis, there was a cocktail reception, dinner, dancing, and an auction that offered bidders a private Bahama Island home stay, a Seaplane trip and a VIP Shopping Experience. But behind the glamour and the glossy photos, when the auctions have closed and the music stops playing, Marile Lopez works diligently as the CFO of Jorge Luis Lopez Law Firm, where — armed with an MBA – she not only drafts contracts and pours over the finances, but also assists the firm’s clients in furthering their own community involvement. SocialMiami’s editor Brett Graff sat down with Lopez – a mother of five children – and got her answers to five questions.
Congratulations on the Branches award!
It’s an amazing organization, have you been to Branches? There are so many kids whose parents work, sometimes extra shifts and late hours, and this place becomes a second home after school. There’s help for homework and also activities such as arts and crafts. Even more, this is a Christian organization that incorporates faith. It also serves the adults in the families, by teaching them subjects such as financial responsibility and tax preparation. It’s full-circle service, that goes a step further: they have summer programs for the full 7 weeks, and the gala was to raise funds for the summer camp and for college tuitions. The campus beautiful, organized and colorful and the kids are happy to be there. Kids don’t lie.
How do you decide on the organizations you’ll support?
We don’t support organizations we support causes. For example, we always supported cancer causes and Jorge served on the American Cancer Society’s national board. We support children, I served as chair at Miami Children’s Hospital – now Nicklaus Children’s – and we strongly advocate and support needs of the homeless, so we support Chapman Partnership and Camillus House.
And many of your law firm clients are also supportive, it seems.
Yes, as a family we found a creative way to bring our clients’ point of views into philanthropy. I look at a client and see if they have a synergy with an organization and then make a connection. I do that as part of the community service within our office, uniting our client needs with that of the community. Our clients have much to give. Not just as donors or financial supporters but many are large corporations with employees that want to give and get involved.
Can you give us an example?
Florida Power & Light and the Red Cross is a great example. Now the power company is their biggest donor and spearheads the campaign for fire alarms, installing them and working together in the first response. We are currently working with Homestead Miami Speedway to host an event at the speedway. Chapman has a campus in Homestead; they’re serving the same folks, and when we chaired American Cancer Society, they sponsored a major golf tournament. Odebrecht Engineering & Construction, meanwhile, has been a great donor for Habitat for Humanity, which builds houses. That is a wonderful relationship. It works very well when you see that type of relationship building,
And what’s on the horizon?
Miami is hosting the Super Bowl in 2020 and the nation’s eyes will be upon us, we have to show how supportive we are, how positive we are. The two words “children” and “cancer” should not be together and St. Jude has made amazing strides in overcoming the odds, with the goal of finding a cure. Jorge and I are honored to chair the organization’s “Legends for Charity” dinner happening the weekend of the Super Bowl. Each year, they honor someone connected to the NFL and this year it’s Jim Kelly, who played for University of Miami in College and then went on to play for the Buffalo Bills – he’s also a cancer survivor. The event will have a big impact.
Brett Graff is SocialMiami.com’s managing editor and has been a journalist covering money, people and power for over 20 years. Graff contributes to national media outlets including Reuters, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, Maxim, and the PBS show, Nightly Business Report. A former U.S. government economist, her nationally syndicated column The Home Economist is first published in The Miami Herald and then on the Tribune Content Agency, where it’s available to over 400 publications nationwide. She is broadcast weekly on two iHeartRadio news shows and is the author of “Not Buying It: Stop Overspending & Start Raising Happier, Healthier, More Successful Kids,” a parenting guide for people who might be tempted to buy their children the very obstacles they’re trying to avoid.