Governance & Compliance

Arabella’s staff work with donors and projects to design, implement, and evaluate governance models to set organizations, boards, and projects up for success. No matter what your initiative’s size, culture, and legal structure, we help right-size all the components of governance to suit the practical reality of your work, setting you up to achieve goals.

Lay the Groundwork for Collaboration and Growth

Governance is woven into every aspect of philanthropic giving. The long-term success of any initiative rests upon a governance structure that has been designed to support its present and future programmatic goals and the changing needs of its stakeholders. But setting up all the components of governance—from decision-making structures to bylaws to succession plans—can be complex and burdensome. It can also be expensive, if your legal counsel has limited experience with complex philanthropic initiatives. And the best-laid plans can break down without thoughtful ongoing implementation, as needs evolve.


Arabella helps you navigate these challenges by serving as an expert and neutral third-party advisor, delivering best-in-class governance strategic planning and management so that you are free to dedicate your time to activities you find most rewarding and impactful. We help you set up the pillars of your governance—policies, procedures, roles, and governing and advisory bodies—and then ensure that they function smoothly, adapting when necessary to family, project, or personnel changes. Our staff knows which questions to ask at every point of your project or organization’s lifecycle to ensure that your infrastructure supports your mission. Our role as a neutral outsider, as well as our expertise in facilitation, helps to mitigate the power dynamics that often accompany collaborative decision making.
We do this for a range of philanthropic organizations—from family foundations navigating the joys and challenges of giving together to donors pooling their resources to achieve common goals to incubated projects guided by expert advisors. We evaluate programs and organizations with an eye to the role their structure and staffing play in achieving their goals. With support from our in-house legal counsel, we also manage multiple nonprofit entities and work closely with their staff members to ensure their boards, policies, and personnel support their program work and growth.

How Arabella Can Help

  • Educate stakeholders about different governance models and practices
  • Design collaborative decision-making structures and processes that ensure all stakeholders have a voice
  • Build cohesion and effective collaboration by managing power dynamics and levels of engagement
  • Articulate roles and responsibilities
  • Support the development of policies, procedures, and bylaws, minimizing the amount you spend on external legal counsel
  • Liaise with your outside counsel to cement policies, procedures, and bylaws
  • Onboard new board/staff members
  • Plan, facilitate, and document board meetings
  • Engage the next generation of a family foundation
  • Ensure compliance of core documents and ongoing practices
  • Plan for staff or project transitions, including a change in legal structure
  • Set up incubated projects to spin out into independent entities
  • Evaluate policies, procedures, and bylaws at the program, project, and organization levels