Lex Leifheit joined the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development in 2015 in a newly created position to help nonprofit businesses start, stay and grow in San Francisco. In her first year she provided direct service to more than 100 nonprofit organizations, connecting them with space, funding and capacity-building opportunities.
Prior to joining OEWD she was the executive director of SOMArts (2008—2015), a 25,000 square foot cultural center that produced large-scale events and exhibitions while simultaneously offering classes for all ages and providing extensive support services including fiscal sponsorship.
In 2014, with co-founder Ebony McKinney, she established Arts for a Better Bay Area, a network to build public will for the arts, ensure access for all, and share knowledge around public policy. The startup engaged more than 500 residents in its first year and was instrumental in securing Mayor Ed Lee’s $7m shared prosperity package to support arts access.
Previously she worked the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, and with Wesleyan University’s Green Street Arts Center, a groundbreaking partnership between the University, the City of Middletown and the North End Action Team, a neighborhood advocacy group focused on low-income youth and families.
Lex was selected by National Arts Strategies as one of the nation’s top 50 arts CEOs, tasked with re-imagining how cultural institutions can contribute to society. She has been an invited speaker at numerous convenings focused on nonprofit innovation and leadership. Currently she is a member of the host committee for the 2017 Americans for the Arts convention, which will take place next June in San Francisco.
Leifheit received her Master of Arts Liberal Studies degree from Wesleyan University and her BFA from Drake University. She spent a semester in Moscow through the O’Neill National Theater Institute.
Performing, visual and literary arts programming experience; curricula development for all ages; fluent in community arts and arts advocacy; proven at fund development and change management. Award-winning theater director and published arts writer; experienced fundraiser and teacher.