Meet The Arabella Team

Eric Kessler

Founder, Principal, and Senior Managing Director

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 160 employees that advises on several billion dollars of philanthropic resources annually, Eric has focused on helping clients achieve their philanthropic goals by devising grant-making strategies, mounting effective advocacy campaigns, evaluating impact, and managing their foundation’s operations. In addition to serving a broad range of family, institutional, and corporate clients, Eric leads the firm’s work with 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. And, he proudly serves as an appointed member of Washington, DC’s Food Policy Council.

In addition to his work at Arabella, Eric founded and serves as secretary of the New Venture Fund, a nonprofit that incubates new social sector innovations, and co-founded the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.

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 the James Beard Foundation and the National Democratic Institute. He is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization and Summit Series. 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.

Back to Directory