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Innovation for Good: Georgetown’s Business for Impact Center Releases Arabella Advisors Case Study

Business for Impact at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business released a teaching case study, Arabella Advisors: Built for Impact at Scale, to highlight the evolution of Arabella Advisors and inspire future entrepreneurs to harness innovation to positively impact society. 

The report explores the rise of Arabella Advisors, a certified B Corporation, from the moment the idea for the firm was hatched during a business strategy class at Georgetown McDonough to its position today as a multi-location philanthropic services company supporting thousands of donors and changemakers in the United States and globally. The case study is publicly available for business students and professionals who seek to gain real-world insights into entrepreneurial success, understand the key strategic shifts that fueled growth and expansion, and discover how business can be a force for good. 

“Now more than ever, the world needs leaders with an entrepreneurial mindset who can create new approaches to our most pressing global issues, use innovation for social good, and positively impact the world around them,” said Paul Almeida, dean and William R. Berkley Chair of the McDonough School of Business. “Arabella Advisors is an extraordinary testament to what is possible when you put this mission into action, and we hope this case study inspires future generations to create new pathways for positive impact in our world.” 

During a business strategy class at Georgetown McDonough, Eric Kessler (EMBA’05), founder of Arabella Advisors, analyzed the philanthropic sector to understand the outlook of the emerging generation of ultra-high net worth philanthropists. His research uncovered an opportunity for a new type of philanthropic consulting firm that could guide high-wealth families, individuals, and foundations through a holistic planning process, help them navigate the complexities of philanthropic giving, and make a greater impact on the causes that are important to them. 

A week after graduation, Kessler launched Arabella Advisors as a Limited Liability Company (LLC) based in Washington D.C., and quickly expanded the firm to Chicago with co-founding partner, Bruce Boyd. During the firm’s first decade, Kessler and Boyd built out Arabella’s strategy consulting and philanthropic services lines of business and began working closely with nonprofit organizations providing fiscal sponsorship.

The co-founders soon made the pivotal decision to hire an outside CEO, Sampriti Ganguli, who developed and operationalized a growth strategy for Arabella while navigating a sensitive leadership transition, taking the reins of the company while the co-founders continued in leadership roles. Ganguli led a major reorganization, invested in technological system enhancements, and leveraged the power of emerging fiscal sponsorship models to accelerate the company’s growth and increase its impact, with the company quadrupling in size under her leadership.

The Georgetown case study concludes in early 2023, just as Arabella Advisors had acquired Redstone Strategy Group and Kiwi Partners – two key strategic decisions designed to diversify the firm’s service offerings and expand market share in an increasingly competitive landscape. 

“Arabella is the pre-eminent partner to the social sector, providing the expertise and services that help changemakers make the world a better place,” said Himesh Bhise, who joined Arabella Advisors as CEO in November 2023. “Our unparalleled impact comes from the hard work of an exceptional group of people who enable philanthropy to operate at greater speed, flexibility, and scale. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Business for Impact at Georgetown University in a case study about our company’s history, which we hope will be the catalyst for other innovative ideas and bold solutions that positively impact society.”

About Business for Impact

Business for Impact at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business is founded on the belief that companies can be a powerful force for good. We strive to help solve today’s most pressing issues through delivering world-class education, impactful student experience, and direct action with corporations, nonprofits, and government. Our aspiration is that Georgetown-educated leaders will be renowned for managing the triple bottom line – people, planet, and profit.

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About Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business

Located at the global intersection of business, policy, and international relations in the capital of the United States, Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business draws upon its access to business, government, policymakers, nonprofits, and the diplomatic community, as well as the expertise of Georgetown’s other renowned schools, to bring an interdisciplinary and experiential approach to learning and scholarship. Rooted in Georgetown’s Jesuit tradition, the school prepares undergraduates, graduate students, and participants in customized executive education courses to become globally-minded, principled leaders in service to business and society.

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About Arabella Advisors

Arabella Advisors is a business dedicated to making philanthropic efforts more efficient, effective, and equitable. Along with our clients, we are working to build a better future—one with healthy air, water, and food for all, with strong democracies and engaged citizens, with flourishing communities, expanded opportunity, and enhanced equity. We help our clients by sharing our expertise and experience, which includes providing outsourced operational support to nonprofit organizations. Arabella Advisors is proud to be a certified B Corporation, a Great Place to Work, and a two-time winner of Entrepreneur Magazine’s “Best Entrepreneurial Companies” award.

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