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Eric Kessler

Eric Kessler

Client Services

Founder, Principal, and Senior Managing Director

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Eric is a serial entrepreneur who has started, led, and advised organizations pursuing social change across the country and around the globe. As founder of Arabella Advisors, Eric has been at the forefront of innovation and impact in the philanthropic sector during one of its greatest historical expansions.

While guiding Arabella from a small startup to a company with more than 100 employees in four offices across the country, Eric has focused on helping clients achieve their philanthropic goals by devising strategies, mounting effective advocacy campaigns, evaluating impact, increasing operational efficiency, and designing and implementing impact investing portfolios. Now, with a CEO in place to run the business, Eric is focusing his energy on advising clients who are working to improve our food system through policies and business investments that promote nutritious, sustainable, and affordable food.

Eric’s interest in the food sector extends well beyond his work at Arabella. He chairs the committee at the James Beard Foundation that oversees efforts to engage the culinary community in advocacy on food policy, and he created the foundation’s Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change. Eric also co-founded the Chef Action Network and has a personal private equity portfolio invested in businesses at the forefront of improving our food system.

In addition to his work at Arabella, Eric founded and serves as chairman of the New Venture Fund, an innovative, independent 501(c)(3) organization that incubates new nonprofits and houses donor collaboratives. Also in the philanthropy sector, he co-founded the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, which aims to boost the effectiveness of the billions of dollars spent on disaster-related charity.

Earlier in his career, Eric served as the national field director for the League of Conservation Voters. Then, as a White House appointee, he helped manage conservation issues during the Clinton administration. Before that, Eric spent six years with the National Democratic Institute, which sent him to the former Soviet Union, Southeast Asia, and throughout the Middle East to train civic and political leaders on strategies to encourage democratic change.

Eric is on the boards of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, the James Beard Foundation, and Chef Action Network. He is a member of Exponent Philanthropy (formerly the Association of Small Foundations), the Environmental Grantmakers Association, the Young Presidents’ OrganizationSummit Series, and the Bretton Woods Committee. He also serves as a trustee of his own family’s foundation, which holds assets generated by the sale of a fifth-generation family-owned business.

Eric holds an Executive MBA from Georgetown University and a BA from the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Follow Eric on Twitter.

Check out some of Eric’s big ideas on Arabella’s Greater Good blog

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