Debbie Kobak is a managing director at Arabella. She works to develop a network of individual, institutional, and corporate clients throughout the Midwest region who drive impact on the causes important to them by using the firm’s full platform of advisory and fiscal sponsorship services.
Debbie has extensive issue expertise in community and economic development, education, and impact investing. She was a banker for 16 years, providing investment, treasury management, and credit products to charitable foundations and institutional asset owners that delivered financial and social returns. She also led the corporate foundation of a Chicago-based bank, where she was the principal architect of the bank’s signature community investment that helped more than 2,000 young people get on a path to living wage employment by attending college and/or industry-recognized work certification programs.
In her early career, Debbie worked in the nonprofit sector for various public policy research and advocacy organizations in Washington, DC and Chicago focused on women’s reproductive rights, free and fair multi-party elections in the developing world, and the environment.
Debbie is an enthusiastic community volunteer, with a particular passion for refugee and immigrant rights organizations. She is currently on the board of GirlForward, an organization that provides comprehensive supports to refugee teen girls, and is the past board treasurer of RefugeeOne, the Midwest’s largest resettlement agency. She also serves on the advisory boards of several education-related nonprofit organizations in Chicago. Debbie has a BA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in political science (with honors) and French, and an MA in international development from the American University in Washington, DC.