Mayra’s desire to give to others spurred at a young age. Mayra’s father was raised in the state of Oaxaca, one of the poorest regions located in southern Mexico. Though the region is poverty-stricken, Oaxaca is noted for its infusion of fashion and arts into the local culture. After attending college in the city of Monterrey, one of the wealthiest cities in Mexico, Mayra recognized the stark contrast between these two communities. It was then that she realized the importance of giving back to others, while incorporating her cultural roots.
Though Mayra wanted to give back, she was unable to find opportunities in her home country. Non-profits in Mexico struggle to find support, given the presence of government corruption in monetary giving—a limiting quality. Nine years ago, Mayra immigrated to the United States with her husband Fernando. Here, Mayra and her family have been able to flourish in philanthropy, focusing her efforts on domestic violence prevention. Particularly, she began working with the Battered Women’s and Children’s Shelter of San Antonio and CASA, “Court Appointed Special Advocate,” of San Antonio.
When asked what advice she has for women interested in becoming philanthropically involved, Mayra advises everyone to first , find what they are passionate about. For Mayra, that was preventing the cycle of domestic violence by working with women and children in the legal system. Next, Mayra advises everyone to determine how they can give back, saying “[w]e all need to find what we are able to give and never be frightened.” Again, for Mayra, this meant balancing her strengths and weaknesses. As a mother and business woman, Mayra recognized that she does not have a lot of time to give to organizations like CASA. However, Mayra was determined to combine her strength of fundraising with her passion for fashion. Utilizing her strengths, she has spurred a wave of fashion-inspired fundraisers across San Antonio where Mexican designers, like those in Oaxaca, can showcase their work. Philanthropy means more than doing service; to Mayra, it means giving back in any way possible.
Mayra carries on her legacy of giving with her children. Raising her children in the United States, Mayra notes that her children may live in a bit of a bubble—she hopes to reconcile this by inspiring her children to help others. In a recent trip to Mexico City, Mayra’s sons were shocked to witness other children, homeless in the streets. Seeing her children surprised at the sight of poverty encouraged Mayra to use this experience as a learning lesson for them. Now, Mayra’s children are dedicated to giving back; a privilege for them.
To learn more about Mayra, visit her website at www.mayrafarret.com.