As founder and senior managing director of Arabella Advisors, Eric Kessler has built a unique consulting firm dedicated to making philanthropy more effective. Now, Eric is leading Arabella’s Good Food practice, which supports philanthropists and impact investors who are pursuing solutions to one of the great challenges of our time: transforming our food system to make delicious, nutritious, sustainably produced food accessible for all.
Arabella Advisors started over a decade ago at Eric’s kitchen table and now advises on several billion dollars a year across its four offices and 150 employees, supporting over 30 of the country’s 40 largest foundations. Together with his Arabella team, Eric has led the deployment of outcome-driven capital on issues ranging from food and nutrition policy to education reform to global health. In addition to his work with Arabella, Eric serves on the Executive Committee of the James Beard Foundation, co-founded the Chef Action Network, maintains a private equity investment portfolio in good food supply chain businesses and occasionally judges cooking competitions.
Earlier in his career, Eric served as the national field director for the League of Conservation Voters and then, as a White House appointee, helped manage conservation issues during the Clinton administration. Just prior to starting Arabella, Eric spent seven years in the former Soviet Union, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East, where he advised civic organizations promoting democratic reforms for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.
Eric is a co-owner, with chef Mike Isabella, of Graffiato, Kapnos, and G, all well-reviewed restaurants in Washington, DC. He provides commentary on effective philanthropy for National Public Radio, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Businessweek online, the Huffington Post, and other leading media institutions. He holds an International MBA from Georgetown University and a BA from the University of Colorado at Boulder.