Notable Minority Executives: David Lee

Chief Executive Officer, Imagine MKE

  • Category: Notable Minority Executives
  • Number of years working in your current industry: 18
  • Undergrad degree/university: Vassar College

As the inaugural chief executive officer of Imagine MKE, David Lee is working to unite the arts and culture sector to ensure its survival during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lee is leading an emergency public funding campaign, resulting in more than 5,000 grassroots letters to elected officials and more than $40 million in CARES Act funding for the arts.

Lee also developed the MKE Artist Relief Fund, raising and distributing almost $200,000 to 423 artists in six weeks. He has worked to provide a voice and a platform as the sector navigates the consequences of unprecedented revenue losses.

“Imagine MKE is essential to addressing COVID’s impact on the organizations and the artists that make our region a destination,” said Deanna Tillisch, former CEO of the United Performing Arts Fund.

One of the key pillars of Imagine MKE is fostering a culture of diversity, equality and inclusion. Lee and his team are leading initiatives to ensure BIPOC artists have equal opportunity and arts organizations embrace differences in ethnicity, race, experience and thought.

Imagine MKE is also driving efforts to leverage the benefits of the arts to connect and heal as the community emerges from the pandemic.