Mara James

OC Visionaries 2022

Founder & CEO
Extraordinary Lives Foundation

Mara James is the driving force behind Extraordinary Lives Foundation (ELF), the Orange County-based nonprofit organization she founded. ELF promotes children’s mental health and wellness while supporting families with awareness, education and resources. Founded in 2015, the vision of ELF is to inspire, empower and teach the world to heal in a time of suffering - unaware that they’d serve the community throughout a global pandemic and subsequent mental health crisis. With a mission of transforming lives by bridging the gap between mental health medical professionals and holistic healers, James and ELF are highly respected in the community of nonprofit and professionals in the mental health sector. The nonprofit has served thousands of children and families through James’ award-winning books featuring the Piggie Bear character and tools created to help kids increase their social emotional learning while improving mental health and wellbeing.