Spirit of Giving – Mike and Mary Orradre

Spirit of Giving – Mike and Mary Orradre

“Be humble. Be simple. Bring joy to others.” Mike and Mary Orradre have lived by that motto all of their lives. Mike was born and raised in San Ardo. After graduating from Santa Clara University with a BS in Business, and a stint in the Navy, his life’s work has been raising cattle on the ranch his grandfather purchased in 1872, now proudly joined by the next generation.

Mary, a self-proclaimed “import” from Washington state, graduated from San Diego College for Women (now SDSU) with a degree in Economics and a teaching credential. She taught for two years and met Mike after following a nun’s advice to “never refuse a blind date.” They have been on the family ranch since 1964, where Mary says they have honored their pact, “I stayed out of the corral, and he stayed out of the kitchen. Everything worked just fine.” They raised five sons, all in agribusiness and “within driving distance of the ranch,” and will celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary in October 2024.

Mary shares that giving back has been “part of their DNA. Mike was taught by his parents, I was taught by mine. It’s just how we operate. We gave as we were able to, and it grew over time.” Their roots run deep in Southern Monterey County, where Mary served on several boards including San Ardo School, her local church and the CFMC, while Mike volunteered on the Salinas Valley Fair board.

We give because it’s the right thing to do.” – Mary Orradre

In addition to giving generously of their time, Mary has worked with her community to be a catalyst for good, raising and donating funds for major projects for both Mission San Miguel and Mission San Antonio. Donor Advised Fund Holders of the CFMC since 2001, the Orradres provided the seed grant to start the Southern Monterey County Foundation of the CFMC in 2013. “Their endorsement made a major difference in launching the Southern Monterey County Foundation,” notes Christine Dawson, Senior Vice President Philanthropic Services.

Their primary focus is on education, youth and family, showcased bymany grants to organizations including Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum, YOSAL, Sol Treasures, Rancho Cielo and First Tee Monterey County. They like giving in partnership with the CFMC “because it’s easy” and they enjoy the added boost nonprofits receive when making year-end grants through the Monterey County Gives! campaign. Some of their most meaningful giving has been a scholarship established in Mike’s late brother’s name at King City High School.

Never seeking the spotlight, they nevertheless graciously accepted the CFMC Distinguished Trustee award in 2011 for their philanthropic impact on our region. They are passing on their spirit of giving to their children, who each volunteer in their communities. As Legacy Society members of the CFMC, the legacy they’d like to leave is, “We did this, please carry on and make it better.”

Photo: Mike and Mary Orradre received the CFMC Distinguished Trustee Award at the 2011 Celebration of Philanthropy and were presented with a painting by Kiara Long