Catalysts Of Change

When it comes to contributing time, skills, and resources, this year’s Angels Among Us consistently prioritize philanthropic efforts with a mindset of giving. Get acquainted with some of the island’s most generous residents who are leaving a lasting legacy that inspires others to make their own impact on the world.

Philanthropy First

For George & Luisa Foyo, giving back is an integral part of their life together. The primary philanthropic organization they dedicate their time, talent and treasure to is Baptist Health Foundation, where George volunteers as a member of 3 of Baptist Health’s Boards, including the Foundation. They have also provided important financial contributions to support the establishment of critical services offered by Miami Cancer Institute, Miami Cardiovascular Institute and South Miami Hospital. After George served as the Chief Administrative Officer of Baptist Health for 10 years until his retirement, it became clear to the couple that there was much more they could do to support the mission of Baptist Health to provide compassionate, high-quality healthcare services to the community. In addition to Baptist Health, they support many community organizations including The Miami Foundation, Miami Lighthouse For The Blind & Visually Impaired, United Way Miami, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, CNC, FIU Business Council, The Beacon Council and The Frost Museum of Science. They also have an endowed scholarship at the University of Illinois for Hispanic engineering students. “There are many opportunities in our community to serve people in need,” they say. “Explore organizations based on your interests such as education, technology, health, children, homeless, etc., and pick one — then approach their management and ask how you can help.”;

Sense Of Purpose

A true global citizen, Mayra Vivacqua grew up in Brazil and lived throughout the U.S., Australia and France before relocating to Miami with her family in 2017. As the Sr. VP of the Caribbean & Puerto Rico for Mastercard, she oversees the organization’s operations and drives business growth and market share. She is also the executive sponsor of the Mastercard Women Leadership Networks in Latin America and the Caribbean, promoting gender balance, inclusion, women empowerment and career growth. One of her most fulfilling philanthropic endeavors is serving on the Board of Be Strong International, a non-profit that for the past 32 years, has been committed to changing the lives of youth and families through their signature Heart Skills educational programs, offering no-cost workshops and success coaching to parents, married couples, and students to help them foster healthy relationships in today’s challenging world. “I truly believe that people can overcome challenges and achieve their full potential with the right support system and, in many cases, this begins at home,” she says. “Showing kindness, empathy, and respect in our interactions with each other creates a ripple effect of positivity that creates a better word for future generations.”;

Hometown Hero

A Key Biscayne native raising his own family on the island, Mario J. Garcia-Serra believes in the power of community. A partner with law firm Gunster Yoakley & Stewart, P.A., he supports Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center, a place he has many fond memories of growing up. “When the opportunity arose to serve on its Board and give back I happily agreed to be of service and to give back to an organization which unconditionally gave to me the benefit of learning about the fragile environment which makes our home an island paradise,” he says. “Being part of the Key Biscayne community has made a big positive impact over the course of my life and I will always keep on trying to repay that debt.” Also active in Dade Heritage Trust, Key Biscayne Community School and St. Agnes Catholic Church, the Harvard alum believes it’s important to get involved in organizations which appeal to your interests. “All philanthropic organizations can use more support, and you will feel better for doing your part,” he says. “Helping others is great path toward self-fulfillment. A life of service is not a burden but an honor.”;