Woman on a mission: Philanthropist Marile López talks about life beyond the glamorous galas

Walk into Marile López’ sleek Coconut Grove office, and you’re greeted by walls of framed magazine and newspaper clippings showcasing the tall blonde dressed in eye-popping fashions at galas and luncheons. In one social season, she attends around 30 events.

“I have a spreadsheet for my entire calendar year with each event’s time and location, along with the outfit I’m wearing,” López revealed, adding that she owns 80 gowns, which she rotates wearing. “They’re organized in hanging bags with a photo and the date I last wore the dress.”

Don’t let the ball gowns fool you — López is not a socialite. Armed with an MBA, she acts as the Chief Financial Officer of her husband’s law firm, Jorge Luis López Law Firm, specializing in governmental affairs; and she’s a powerhouse philanthropist who has chaired boards and fundraised for numerous charitable organizations for more than 20 years.

“I personally don’t like the word charity. I like mission, or causes,” López said. “The charity is a vehicle to help the cause, and if we as donors and volunteers focus on the cause, we can accomplish so much more than just focusing on one charity.”



The mom of five, who’s now facing the looming responsibility of caring for aging parents, is purposely involved in causes that make a difference in children’s health and elderly care. “When we go into the community to see where we can help, our choices definitely come from our Catholic foundation and exemplify our family.”

In honor of their five kids, the family is hyper-focused on five main charities — American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Boys & Girls Club, Chapman Partnership and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. “We thought it would be a great legacy for our kids to continue that giving level.”

And, what a legacy. In the last decade, they’ve raised more than $24 million for charities; $32 million in the political sphere; and given $3 million personally. “It helps to say, ‘I’m asking you to give a dollar, because I gave a dollar.’ I wouldn’t ask anyone to do or give what I have not.”



With her proven track record for fundraising, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital recently asked López to chair the high-profile Legends for Charity dinner at the InterContinental Hotel, when South Florida hosts the Super Bowl in 2020.

While her goal is to raise money and awareness for the hospital where parents of kids with cancer never receive a bill, López also hopes the country will see Miami as more than a glitzy, party city. “When the world looks at Miami during Super Bowl 54, we’ll be able to show everyone that we are this hometown that believes in helping each other.”

Of course, she already knows what she’ll be wearing that night.