Ms. Donnie Nicole Belcher (Formerly Donnie Nicole Smith) started her professional career as a teacher in the Chicago Public School System. Donnie earned her Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Education with a concentration in English from DePaul University in 2006. As a teacher Donnie worked with students from diverse backgrounds teaching Literature and Writing to 9th – 12th graders. Donnie taught at Whitney Young Magnet High School, the alma mater of Former First Lady Michelle Obama, and Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy. Her favorite texts to teach were Homer’s The Odyssey, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. She impacted thousands of students in her 12 years with the Chicago Public School System and many of her former students pursued careers in Education.
Donnie is the Founding & Former Executive Director of Art of Culture Inc. (Formerly Donda’s House), a nonprofit organization she co-founded. Art of Culture provides free access to the arts for youth. The innovative promise is its delivery of elite career-training and industry insights to Chicago’s extraordinarily talented but often marginalized young people. Art of Culture has transformed the lives of over 500 of Chicago’s most talented youth, inspiring many to finish their educations, tirelessly work for a career in the creative industries, and embrace a network of ambitious & like-minded artists who provide peer-support. Art of Culture was featured in a Facebook Documentary with over 1.2 million views, shared personally by Mark Zuckerberg. Although Donnie no longer has a formal role in the organization, she continues to advocate for the organization and provide support as needed behind the scenes.