Betsy Erickson

Head of Family and Individual Services, Arabella Advisors

Betsy Erickson leads Arabella’s work with family and individual clients, supporting them to further their learning, collaboration, and philanthropic goals. During her 14 years at Arabella, Betsy has helped dozens of clients design and launch strategies and run grantmaking programs on issues ranging from conservation to experiential education. Betsy draws on her study and practical experience in systems and family dynamics to facilitate groups to make decisions and work together effectively. Applying her expertise in enabling learning and collaboration, Betsy has significant experience working with multi-generational families.

Prior to joining Arabella, Betsy worked for eight years in the nonprofit sector with groups focused on cancer research. She provided independent consulting services to national and regional nonprofit organizations such as CureSearch National Childhood Cancer Foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. She helped these organizations develop corporate partnerships, garner support from family foundations and major donors, and establish and grow their workplace giving campaigns.

Betsy has a BA from Colgate University, where she graduated with honors in two programs: philosophy and religion, and art and art history. Betsy also completed a certificate program in human behavior and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and a three-year postgraduate program at the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family at Georgetown Family Center. Betsy is the faculty chair for the Social Impact and Philanthropy domain at the UHNW Institute and is a leader in the Institute’s DEI work. Betsy is also a member of the Purposeful Planning Institute, co-leading its family dynamics working group. Betsy resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her spouse and two daughters.


Unlocking the Power of DAFs

Posted on July 13, 2023 by Betsy Erickson, Arabella Advisors

This paper explores tactics DAF-holders can use to combat stagnation and overcome the barriers—both psychological and structural—that are holding them back, enabling them to put their charitable dollars to work and fulfill the expectations of their roles as funders… Read More

Managing Family Dynamics in Governance

Posted on December 15, 2022 by Stephanie Ellis-Smith, Betsy Erickson, Katherine Lorenz

Reaching consensus is difficult, particularly during a decision-making moment that will have a real impact on your philanthropy. How do you have productive conversations during meetings and other decision points when there are relationship dynamics, conflict, or simply differences of opinion? How do you allow for individual viewpoints across generations, but ensure there is a framework in place to push… Read More

2021 Trustee Education Institute

Posted on March 9, 2021 by Isabel Nogueira, Alyson Wise, Jumi Falusi, Milton Speid, Emily Kaiser, Adrian Ruiz, Lisa Jackson, Priscilla Enriquez, Dorothy Gardner, Regan Pritzker

NCFP’s Trustee Education Institute provides a comprehensive overview of the important legal, investment, ethical, grantmaking, and family dynamics issues facing family foundation board members and CEOs. Featuring the perspectives of innovative donors and a faculty made up of donors, board members, and highly respected philanthropy experts, this virtual seminar covers: Translating values and goals into action Connecting family legacy and… Read More

Family Foundation CEO Retreat

Posted on February 12, 2021 by Betsy Erickson, Janine Mason, Michael Smith, Tina Runyan, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Bari Katz, Rob Reich, Shaady Salehi, Carmen Rojas, Diana Scearce

The role of a family foundation CEO is unique, often bridging generations of family members, community leaders, staff, advisors, and partners. Expectations can be challenging to meet and boundaries are sometimes vague and ever-changing. Success in this role requires a cadre of specialized leadership skills, particularly in these divisive and dynamic times. This 3-day virtual retreat, designed for both new… Read More