Mandy Leifheit, ArtsFund Visionary


Mandy Leifheit is an Account Executive at Microsoft. After moving from Chicago six years ago, she joined ArtsFund’s Associates Program (now the Visionaries). She serves on the leadership group of the Visionaries known as the Culture Council. An alum of our Board Leadership Training program, she recently joined the board of Seattle Rep and is co-chair of their young patron’s program committee.

We recently chatted with Mandy about how she discovered ArtsFund, why she supports the arts, and how new arrivals and emerging leaders can get involved.

You arrived in Seattle 6 years ago—how did you get connected with ArtsFund? And why do you stay plugged in?
I learned about ArtsFund through a friend who had joined the Associates program after learning about it from her coworker. I’m so happy I found ArtsFund. I love learning about different arts organizations and how they give back to the community. My favorite events are those where we attend a dress rehearsal or get a behind the scenes tour because I love seeing how the production comes together. And it gives me more information about the production when I’m sharing it with my friends and encouraging them to attend.

What surprised you most about the Seattle art scene?
I knew Seattle would have a good art scene, but I didn’t realize how many new works would be created or refined here. The first play I saw at Seattle Rep was Come From Away and it was amazing. I have now seen it 4 times in 3 different cities! This spring I saw Marie, Dancing Still at the 5th Ave Theatre. It was a beautiful show with so much talent – I hope it gets to Broadway.

You’ve volunteered for a number of ArtsFund’s young professionals programs and are an ArtsFund supporter–what impact are you looking to have through ArtsFund?
Supporting ArtsFund means supporting all the arts in Seattle. Once I learned that for nonprofit arts organizations ticket prices only cover half the cost of putting on a production, I realized how important it is to donate to them and help them publicize the work they are doing so they can keep creating such important work. I want Seattle’s art scene to stay vital and groundbreaking, so I plan to keep supporting it. The ArtsFund Visionaries program is a great way to donate as well as learn about and share the arts. I was also interested in serving on a board and ArtsFund’s Nonproft Board Leadership Training gave me a good background in board service and an introduction to the arts community.


Why do you think volunteerism and community leadership are important?
It is so important to take care of your community and when moving to a new city the best way to do that is to volunteer. I have found so many nonprofits that fill unique needs of the community like Humble Design that furnishes homes for families as they transition out of homelessness, F-Factor that puts on fashion and health workshops for youth in the foster care system, and ArtsFund that supports 120 cultural partners. Microsoft matches its employees volunteer time, so if I have free time, I volunteer. My time and the Microsoft match can have an impact. I encourage my co-workers and friends to volunteer as well, the more we do together the more impact we can have.

What’s your advice for emerging leaders who want to get involved, but may not be sure how to go about it?
Decide what cause you are passionate about and then find the organizations that support it and reach out to them. Offering to volunteer, to serve on their board, to attend their fundraisers will help you get involved and you will meet some really great people doing amazing things!