Debbie Kobak

Board Member

​Debbie Kobak is a managing director at Arabella Advisors, a professional services consulting company serving the social sector. She leads the Midwest region client development team, building a network of philanthropic clients who drive impact on the causes important to them.

Debbie has extensive issue expertise in community and economic development, education, international development, and impact investing. She was a banker for 16 years, where she worked to deliver financial and social returns. She led the corporate foundation of MB Financial (now Fifth Third Bank), where she was the principal architect of the bank’s signature community investment that helped more than 2,000 young people get on a path to living wage employment.

In her early career, Debbie worked in the non-profit sector for various public policy research and advocacy organizations in Washington, DC and Chicago focused on women’s reproductive rights, free and fair multi-party elections in the Global South, and the environment.

Debbie is an enthusiastic community volunteer, with a particular passion for refugee and immigrant rights organizations. This is her second term on the RefugeeOne board, where she was previously Board Treasurer. She also recently completed service on the board of GirlForward, serves on the board of visitors for the Lily Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, and serves on the advisory boards of several education-related nonprofits in Chicago.

Debbie has a BA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and an MA in international development from the American University in Washington, DC. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters.