Debi Chess Mabie has over 25 years of nonprofit program development and leadership experience in a variety of sectors– including youth and community development and arts-based economic development. She received a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Wright State University, and a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She served in the United States Peace Corps from 1989 to 1991. Prior to moving to Tucson with her husband and children in 2010, was the Executive Director of BooCoo Cultural Center and Café in Evanston, Illinois.
Debi recently resigned her position as the Executive Director of the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona (formerly Tucson Pima Arts Council) where she helped lead and shape the newly emerging conversation around the role of the arts–and funding for the arts– in economic development and city planning endeavors. In November 2017 she accepted a Community Impact Fellow appointment by the University of Arizona School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and is now working at the Dunbar Pavilion: An African American Center for Art and Culture to help build capacity and steward the organization into its next 100 years of cultural significance in Tucson and Southern Arizona.
Debi is the Board Chair and a founding member of the Tucson Black Film Club, and a board member of the Non-Profit Loan Fund and TedEx Tucson. She also served for three years as the Development Director of the Loft Cinema.