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Date(s) - 11/20/2020
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm


Debi Chess has over 25 years of nonprofit organizational and leadership experience. She received a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio in 1989, and a master’s degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2000. She served in the United States Peace Corps in Jamaica, West Indies from 1989 to 1991.

Prior to moving with her family to Tucson in 2010, she was the Executive Director of BooCoo Cultural Center and Café. BooCoo was a community-based economic development enterprise located at the cross section of Chicago’s elite North Shore communities, and some of the poorest zip codes in Chicago.

Debi served as the Development and Community Outreach and Engagement Director of the Loft Cinema. After three years in that position, she was recruited to become the Executive Director of the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona (formerly Tucson Pima Arts Council).

In 2017, she accepted a Community Impact Fellowship appointment by the University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. In that capacity she worked with the Dunbar Pavilion: An African American Center for Art and Culture to help build capacity. When the fellowship ended, she became the first Executive Director of the Dunbar, where she now works to continue to preserve the space and create programming and partnerships reflective of the diverse needs of our community.