Reign FC Legend: Mari Horita

The Legends campaign, a partnership between Seattle Reign FC and Avanade, honors women for their extraordinary contributions in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Prior to the match against the Orlando Pride this Sunday, the club will recognize ArtsFund CEO and President Mari Horita.

“The Legends campaign helps raise awareness of the important role women play in shaping and leading this community,” said Horita. “The Reign players themselves are great examples of strong and inspiring leaders on the field, and the Reign Legends campaign builds on that by recognizing women who are making an impact in other areas.”

As the President and CEO of ArtsFund, Horita has been supporting the arts through leadership, advocacy, and grant making for 15 years. Before taking her current role, Horita served as co-chair of both the ArtsFund Workplace Giving Committee and Marketing Committee, where she worked implement workplace giving strategies for ArtsFund donor companies.

“I have a background both in music and also nonprofits, and both factors influenced the path to my current job,” said Horita. “I started playing violin at the age of 6, and music has been an important part of my life ever since. This firsthand experience demonstrated to me the vital role arts and music play in people’s lives and communities around the globe.”

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“I think my interest in the nonprofit and social service sector stemmed in part from my parent’s experience as Japanese American children living on the West Coast during WWII,” said Horita. “This manifest injustice has played a big part in shaping my beliefs and also what drives me, and is part of why I went to law school and then obtained a Masters in nonprofit management.”

In her work to raise awareness for and protect the arts, Horita has come to see many parallels between the arts and sports. These two communities have much in common, and help build a stronger society.

“Both teach perseverance, commitment and collaboration,” said Horita. “Both bring community together to share a common experience and in turn strengthen the bonds of basic humanity. A strong arts sector and strong and diverse professional sports teams are important parts of a dynamic community and city.”

Horita’s inspiration not only comes from Seattle’s vibrant arts and unique sports communities but those around her.

“My mother, my friends, some of my teachers, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Madeline Albright and Michelle Obama, but first and foremost my daughter, Naomi,” said Horita. “She inspires and instills gratitude and hope in me every day.”

For the next generation, including her daughter, Horita hopes that an inspiration to support both the arts and women’s sports continues. Her advice centers around staying true to yourself and each other.

“Believe in yourself and don’t give up,” said Horita. “Be kind and humble and grateful. Be a good and supportive friend and surround yourself with good and supportive friends. Pick each other up when you fall. Listen with an open mind and heart, and learn and grow.”