For-profit

Arabella Advisors

Website:

www.arabellaadvisors.com

Formation:

2005 in Washington, D.C.

Type:

For-Profit Consulting Firm

Founder:

Eric Kessler

Chief Executive Officer:

Sampriti Ganguli

Other Locations:

California

Illinois

New York

Washington

Managed Funds:

New Venture Fund

Media Democracy Fund (via NVF)

Windward Fund

Sixteen Thirty Fund

Hopewell Fund

Arabella Advisors (commonly called “Arabella”) is a philanthropic consulting company that guides the strategy, advocacy, impact investing, and management for high-dollar left-leaning nonprofits and individuals. [1] Arabella provides these clients with a number of services that ease their operations and that enable them to enact policies focused on environmentalism, gender-handouts, and other left-of center prerogatives. [2] The company was founded in 2005 by Eric Kessler, a Clinton administration alumnus and long-time staffer at the League of Conservation Voters who remains a senior managing partner at the firm. [3]

Arabella Advisors manages four nonprofits that serve as incubators and accelerators for a range of other left-of-center nonprofits. These include the New Venture Fund, the Sixteen Thirty Fund, the Hopewell Fund, and the Windward Fund. These nonprofits have collectively hosted hundreds of left-wing policy and advocacy organizations, and between 2013 and 2017 reported combined revenues exceeding $1.6 billion. [4] [5] Many of Arabella’s top officials, including firm founder Eric Kessler, are principal officers on the nonprofits’ boards of directors.

Arabella claims to have implemented over 150 different projects, though the real figure is potentially far higher. The company specifically highlights projects in which it has helped its clients divest millions of dollars from traditional energy companies, invest in risky experimental companies, boycott the historically Republican-leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce, enact a ballot initiative that freed 4,000 criminals in California, and a lobby for labor union privilege in Oregon that was supported by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the Oregon Nurses Association. [6]

Organizational Overview

Arabella Advisors is a strategic consulting and management company that works with individual donors and large left-of-center nonprofits. [7]

Founded in 2005,[8] Arabella has 150 employees. [9] It maintains offices across the country and helps its clients implement their left-wing agendas through sometimes risky programming investments or the creation and incubation of new agenda-driven initiatives or organizations. [10] Arabella claims to have carried out more than 150 domestic and international projects for clients with combined assets worth more than $100 billion. [11]

The company touts that it helps its donor clients develop and implement programs and campaigns that produce left-of-center-social and policy changes. The company brings its wide-range of left-wing nonprofits together to collaborate and exchange ideas on how to implement left-of-center policies. [12]

Arabella manages over $75 million in strategic grants for clients who seek to use their money to implement left-of-center policies. [13] It also guides the “impact investing” of its clients who seek to invest their money in ways that further a left-leaning mission. [14]

In 2017, in response to the election of President Donald Trump, Arabella founder Eric Kessler called for donors to increase their support for organizations that planned to take bold actions on liberal environmentalist, gender-preferential, and government-funded healthcare policies. [15]

Fiscal Sponsorship: The Arabella Advisors Network

Arabella Advisors manages four nonprofits, three of which are 501(c)(3) entities and one of which is a 501(c)(4) organization. All serve as incubators and accelerators for a range of other left-of-center nonprofits. [16] These four nonprofits form a single network that provides funding to other left-of-center nonprofits as well as fiscal sponsorship (or “incubation”) services to other groups. These four nonprofits are:

The New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit created in 2006 which to date claims it has sponsored over 280 projects across a range of left-of-center issues. In 2017, NVF reported $358.9 million in revenues. [17] [18]

The Sixteen Thirty Fund, a 501(c)(4) advocacy nonprofit created in 2009 that partners with a range of left-leaning donors to lobby for public policy changes, and which uses targeted and strategic political activities to achieve their social and environmental goals. [19]

The Hopewell Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit created in 2015 which helps left-of-center donors and activists launch new initiatives. [20]

The Windward Fund, Arabella’s “featured” environmental project created in 2015. It supports donors advocating for environmentalism. [21]

The four “Funds” have grown rapidly since their inception, reporting total revenues of $1.64 billion and expenditures of $1.1 billion since 2013. [22] A summary is provided below:

Arabella Advisors Nonprofit Network: Revenues
Grand Total:$1,639,270,620
Annual RevenuesNew Venture FundSixteen Thirty FundHopewell FundWindward Fund
2013 $112,942,320 $5,269,965n/an/a
2014 $179,424,945$16,523,735n/an/a
2015 $318,405,056 $5,617,209 $6,895,271 $1,297,000
2016 $357,581,316 $21,258,592 $16,552,056 $15,812,062
2017$358,858,641 $79,559,836 $130,616,293 $12,656,323
Sum:$1,327,212,278$128,229,337$154,063,620$29,765,385
Arabella Advisors Nonprofit Network: Expenditures
Grand Total:$1,163,105,526
Annual ExpendituresNew Venture FundSixteen Thirty FundHopewell FundWindward Fund
2013$74,982,490 $2,721,133n/an/a
2014$134,487,602  $10,880,643  n/an/a
2015 $214,351,188$8,660,897  $839,522$58,293
2016 $264,546,947 $19,660,860$7,818,000 $7,452,824
2017 $329,784,536 $46,893,083 $28,943,397 $11,024,111
Sum:$1,018,152,763$88,816,616$37,600,919$18,535,228

New Venture Fund

For more information, see New Venture Fund (Nonprofit)

The New Venture Fund (NVF) (formerly the Arabella Legacy Fund) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit created in October 2006. The group funds a number of center-left causes, but is primarily known for hosting over 280 fiscally sponsored projects. [23] Former Arabella Advisors managing director Lee Bodner serves as president of NVF.

The NVF sponsors the Media Democracy Fund, a group supported by George SorosOpen Society Foundations, and which pushes for left-of-center internet-related policies, including net neutrality regulations. [24] [25]

Sixteen Thirty Fund

For more information, see Sixteen Thirty Fund (Nonprofit)

The Sixteen Thirty Fund is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit created in 2009. The Fund provides similar fiscal sponsorship services to that of the New Venture Fund and Arabella’s other nonprofits; but the Sixteen Thirty Fund’s projects are often hosted as lobbying arms in conjunction with an “education” or fundraising arm hosted by one of its 501(c)(3) “sister” nonprofits (usually the New Venture Fund). [26]

The Sixteen Thirty Fund has been described as a “progressive advocacy group” because of its lobbying efforts, and the group has created a number of offshoot entities that advocate for liberal policies. [27] One such group, Americans For Tax Fairness Action Fund, advocates for “progressive tax reform.” Another organization, Make It Work Action, pushes for liberal labor policies. [28]

The Sixteen Thirty Fund funneled nearly millions of dollars from Atlantic Philanthropies to “Unity ’09: Moving a Progressive Policy Agenda in America” a liberal effort to support President Barack Obama’s healthcare policy (popularly known as Obamacare). [29] In 2017, the Sixteen Thirty Fund gave over $600,000 to the left-wing Center for Community Change Action, a group organizing opposition to the Trump administration. [30]

Hopewell Fund

For more information, see Hopewell Fund (Nonprofit)

The Hopewell Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit created in 2015. It primarily manages pro-abortion projects, including Equity Forward, which attacks Trump administration “political appointees at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for opposing the left-wing abortion agenda.” [31]

Windward Fund

For more information, see Windward Fund (Nonprofit)

The Windward Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit created in 2015. The Windward Fund primarily sponsors environmentalist projects, such as the Climate Resilience Fund.

Issue Areas

Arabella’s main issue areas focus on left-of-center environmentalist, gender, and food policies. [32]

Shareholder Advocacy and Oil Divestment

Arabella has issued reports touting how nonprofits use shareholder advocacy to push for environmentalist prerogatives including carbon reduction mandates and a boycott against the Republican-leaning U.S. Chamber of Commerce. [33] Arabella also pushes for financial divestment from traditional energy companies in favor of experimental environmentalist energy companies and issued a report touting that companies holding $1.3 trillion in assets have pledged “to both divest and invest in clean energy and climate solutions.” [34]

Mandatory Paid Sick Leave

Arabella touts that it worked to create the Everybody Benefits Coalition in 2012, a project of Family Forward Oregon funded by the Rockefeller Family Fund, to lobby for a statewide paid sick leave mandate in Oregon. The coalition included a number of labor-aligned advocacy groups including the Working Families Organization alongside labor unions such as United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and the Oregon Nurses Association. [35]

Looser Sentencing Laws

In 2014, Arabella coordinated grant funding from a number of left-leaning nonprofits including the Ford Foundation, George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF), the Public Welfare Foundation, and other to form the Vote Safe 501(c)(4), which successfully funded a $10 million ballot initiative campaign to loosen California sentencing laws and release approximately 4,000 convicted criminals. [36]

Other Issues

The company also helps its clients carryout programs across other left-of-center issue areas including economic, education and healthcare-based issues; “equity and social justice” issues; and global redistribution issues. [37]

Leadership

Founder

Eric Kessler is the founder of and a principal and senior managing director at Arabella Advisors. He also serves as board chair of the New Venture Fund and president of the Sixteen Thirty Fund. Kessler previously served as the national field director for the League of Conservation Voters and as a White House appointee managing conservation issues for President Bill Clinton. [38]

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Principals

Sampriti Ganguli is the chief executive officer of Arabella Advisors. [39]

Bruce Boyd is a co-principal and senior managing director at Arabella. Previously Boyd worked for 13 years as executive director of the Illinois chapter of the Nature Conservancy. [40] Boyd is an adviser to the New Venture Fund and a board member for the Hopewell Fund and the Windward Fund.

Staff

Scott Nielsen is Arabella’s managing director of advocacy. [41] He also serves on the board of advisors at the Funders Committee For Civic Participation, a donors’ trade group which Arabella Advisors is a member of. Nielsen has also worked with the MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Democracy Alliance, the State Infrastructure Fund, and the Open Society Foundations. [42]

References

  1. “Arabella Advisors.” Devex. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.devex.com/organizations/arabella-advisors-62136
  2. “Arabella Advisors.” Devex. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.devex.com/organizations/arabella-advisors-62136
  3. “Our People.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/company/our-people/
  4. “Fiscal Sponsorship.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/expertise/fiscal-sponsorship/
  5. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). New Venture Fund, Sixteen Thirty Fund, Hopewell Fund, Windward Fund. 2013-2017.
  6. Whelpton, Shelley and McArthur. Loren. “Bringing Workplace Policies Into The 21st Century.” Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Bringing-Workplace-Policies-Into-the-21st-Century.pdf
  7. “Arabella Advisors.” Devex. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.devex.com/organizations/arabella-advisors-62136
  8. “Arabella Advisors.” Devex. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.devex.com/organizations/arabella-advisors-62136
  9. Rudominer, Ryan. “CSR Matters: How One Company is Shaping the Future of Philanthropy By Building Inclusion from the Inside Out.” Huffington Post. July 16, 2017. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/csr-matters-how-one-company-is-shaping-the-future_us_5967b8dbe4b022bb9372aff6
  10. “Arabella Advisors.” Devex. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.devex.com/organizations/arabella-advisors-62136
  11. “Arabella Advisors.” Devex. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.devex.com/organizations/arabella-advisors-62136
  12. “Arabella Advisors.” Devex. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.devex.com/organizations/arabella-advisors-62136
  13. “Arabella Advisors.” Devex. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.devex.com/organizations/arabella-advisors-62136
  14. “Arabella Advisors.” Devex. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.devex.com/organizations/arabella-advisors-62136
  15. Kessler, Eric. “A Time to Act.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/2017/01/31/a-time-to-act/
  16. “Fiscal Sponsorship.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/expertise/fiscal-sponsorship/
  17. “About New Venture Fund.” New Venture Fund. Accessed April 19, 2018. http://www.newventurefund.org/about-nvf/
  18. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). New Venture Fund. 2017. Available: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2019/03/New-Venture-Fund-2017-Form-990-reduced.pdf
  19. “Fiscal Sponsorship.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/expertise/fiscal-sponsorship/
  20. “Fiscal Sponsorship.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/expertise/fiscal-sponsorship/
  21. Strode, Ryan. “Conservation & Climate.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/issue/climate/
  22. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). New Venture Fund, Sixteen Thirty Fund, Hopewell Fund, Windward Fund. 2013-2017.
  23. “About New Venture Fund.” New Venture Fund. Accessed March 22, 2019. http://www.newventurefund.org/about-nvf/
  24. Aaron, Craig. “How We Won Net Neutrality.” Huffington Post. April 28, 2015. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-aaron/how-we-won-net-neutrality_b_6759132.html
  25. Takala, Rudy. “Hacked documents reveal Soros plans for more Internet regulation.” Washington Examiner. September 9, 2016. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/hacked-documents-reveal-soros-plans-for-more-internet-regulation
  26. Hayden Ludwig. “Who is Behind the Groups Pushing Obamacare?” Capital Research Center. January 10, 2019. Accessed March 22, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/who-is-behind-the-groups-pushing-obamacare/
  27. Schoffstall, Joe. “Donors of Anti-Trump ‘Resistance’ Group Revealed.” Washington Free Beacon. October 4, 2017. Accessed April 19, 2018. http://freebeacon.com/politics/donors-anti-trump-resistance-group-revealed/
  28. “Projects.” Sixteen Thirty Fund. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.sixteenthirtyfund.org/project-directory/
  29. Maghami, Neil. “A Donor Can Stand Up: Battling over donor intent at the Atlantic Philanthropies.” Capital Research Center. April 13, 2015. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://capitalresearch.org/article/a-donor-can-stand-up-battling-over-donor-intent-at-the-atlantic-philanthropies/
  30. Schoffstall, Joe. “Donors of Anti-Trump ‘Resistance’ Group Revealed.” Washington Free Beacon. October 4, 2017. Accessed April 19, 2018. http://freebeacon.com/politics/donors-anti-trump-resistance-group-revealed/
  31. Michael Watson. “New Dark Money Front Targets Pro-Life HHS Appointees.” Capital Research Center. January 31, 2019. Accessed March 22, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/new-dark-money-front-targets-pro-life-hhs-appointees/
  32. “Arabella Advisors.” Devex. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.devex.com/organizations/arabella-advisors-62136
  33. “Assets in Action: How Catholic Institutions Are Using Their Investments To Counter Climate Change.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Assets-in-Action-9.9-final.pdf
  34. “The Global Fossil Fuel Divestment and Clean Energy Investment Movement.” December 2016. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Global_Divestment_Report_2016.pdf
  35. Whelpton, Shelley and McArthur. Loren. “Bringing Workplace Policies Into The 21st Century.” Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Bringing-Workplace-Policies-Into-the-21st-Century.pdf
  36. Whelpton, Shelley and McArthur, Loren. “Ending The Era Of Mass Incarceration.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Californias-Proposition-47.pdf
  37. “Arabella Advisors.” Devex. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.devex.com/organizations/arabella-advisors-62136
  38. “Our People.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/company/our-people/
  39. “Our People.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/company/our-people/
  40. “Our People.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/company/our-people/
  41. “Our People.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/company/our-people/
  42. “Our People.” Arabella Advisors. Accessed April 19, 2018. https://www.arabellaadvisors.com/company/our-people/

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Andrew Schulz
    General Counsel
  2. Scott Nielsen
    Director of Advocacy
  3. Bruce Boyd
    Principal and Senior Managing Director
  4. Eric Kessler
    Founder, Principal, and Senior Managing Director
  5. Lee Bodner
    Former Managing Director

Associated Organizations

  1. Allied Progress (Non-profit)
  See an error? Let us know!