Senior Director of Advocacy Strategy and Business Development
Katie Ellis is a senior director at Arabella, based in the firm’s Washington, DC office. She works at the intersection of business development, legal services, and project implementation to bring new advocacy projects to fruition, helping clients use their philanthropic resources to maximize social impact. Drawing on her deep expertise in advocacy, Katie works with Arabella’s clients to design and launch new projects, serves as a senior strategist on some of the firm’s most complex advocacy engagements, and co-leads Arabella’s internal efforts to deepen and expand the team’s advocacy footprint and expertise.
Prior to joining Arabella, Katie spent time managing nonprofit programs and operations, as well as advising advocacy organizations as an attorney. Her background gives her a deep understanding of the landscape of nonprofit advocacy projects and of the complexities and opportunities related to achieving social impact through community organizing, public affairs, and political advocacy. Her experience includes leading political, advocacy, and public education campaigns on behalf of Planned Parenthood—campaigns that helped to expand the organization’s footprint and make it the national political powerhouse it is today. She later worked as an attorney at a leading firm advising nonprofits on advocacy activity and served as in-house counsel at a national 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), and SuperPAC, where she built a deep understanding of the complex legal structures supporting philanthropy and advocacy work.
Katie holds a BA in international relations with a minor in South Asian studies from Wellesley College and a JD focused on political law from Georgetown University, which she earned as a night student while maintaining a day job running advocacy campaigns. Her interest in social justice extends beyond work hours: she volunteers weekly with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, where she helps DC-area low-income workers obtain justice at work through the committee’s workers’ rights legal clinic.