For Economic Developers

Burckart has been working with the Federal Reserve—the central banking system of the US—to help public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders to better understand and collaborate on innovative ways to raise, deploy and facilitate capital to meet local community economic objectives as well as meet investor goals. Efforts have focused on the importance of (a) leveraging information, resources, and technology, (b) embracing a place-based focus for spurring innovation, (c) and harnessing entrepreneurship to achieve the breakthroughs now needed to accelerate progress. The following are a series of speeches, panels, and articles that detail this body of work. Burckart has been providing the same function to the Association for Enterprise Opportunity and its Micro Capital Task Force (MCTF). 

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco


In early 2015, Burckart became a Visiting Scholar with the Center for Community Development Investment at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Visiting Scholars engage with department staff to share experiences and best practices from the field, advise on current and proposed initiatives, and present research to community development stakeholders. Burckart was interviewed by David J. Erickson--the Director of the Center for Community Development Investments at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco--for the Community Development Interview Series. See the interview below.

The Federal Reserve's Investing in What Works Initiative published "The Momentum – And Need for Clarity – in Impact Investing" on January 8, 2015. The article details the new book New Frontiers of Philanthropy: A Guide to the New Actors and Tools Reshaping Global Philanthropy and Social Investing. Edited by Lester Salamon, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, the book (whose production Burckart managed) is an attempt to bring more coherence to the changes underway. From the piece: "While seemingly distinct, the resulting issues and opportunities facing investors, nonprofits executives, philanthropists, community developers, and business leaders as they explore the new frontiers are actually quite similar and are more often than not obscured by needless fragmentation. The New Frontiers of Philanthropy represents an important initial step in addressing this." 

The Federal Reserve's Investing in What Works Initiative also published "Building a Bridge from Wall Street to Main Street: How Impact Investing Can Expand the Reach and Role of Community and Economic Development" on August 8, 2014. The article explores how investment firms can begin to serve client demand for impact investing by broadening where their CRA-motivated capital actually flows, moving beyond real estate transactions to include greater diversification into health care, education, social services, and the arts—sectors of great interest to the very clients now fueling demand for impact investing opportunities.

Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond


Burckart provided a speech on "The Next Generation of Financing Social Good" at the 2015 South Carolina Community Economic Development Conference on August 27, 2015 in Charleston, SC. Burckart also provided a speech and moderated a panel on “Financing our Market and Community Innovations” at the 30th Annual Emerging Issues Forum: Innovation Reconstructed in February 2015 (Raleigh, NC), where Burckart was joined by Dan Nissenbaum, Managing Director, Urban Investment Group, Goldman Sachs Bank USA; Scott Case, Chief Executive Officer, Main Street Genome; and Jenny Kassan, CEO, Cutting Edge Capital. A recording of this speech and panel is below the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond's overview of the panel is here

In addition, Burckart provided a keynote on “Impact Investing” in November 2014 (Glenville, SC) at the South Carolina Community Capital Conference, which was co-hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. Check out a re-cap of the event by a local business journal.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas


Burckart provided a keynote on "Social Impact Investing for Community Development" in April 2014 (Dallas, TX) at the Investing in What Works: Dallas, an event hosted by the Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas. Investing in What Works for America’s Communities is a new book that calls on leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to build on what we know is working to move the needle on poverty.

The book’s impressive list of authors represents a broad range of sectors including federal agencies, philanthropy, housing academia, health, and the private sector. It calls on leaders, from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to recognize that they can work smarter and achieve more by working together. See below for Burckart's speech.


The American dream is out of reach for millions of Main Street business owners who are not able to access capital or support on the path to capital for their businesses. Hard work alone will not solve the problem given the current path of financial institutions and other market players, even with strong support from a range of community-based institutions. Solving this problem requires the emergence of a new financial system for Main Street.


Recognizing this massive market failure, AEO, the national trade association for U.S. microfinance and Main Street businesses, formed a private multi-stakeholder task force to present fact-based and practical recommendations to the White House, the Department of Treasury and the Congress regarding access to capital in amounts of up to $250,000 for the smallest businesses. In parallel, AEO commissioned Ira Lieberman, one of the pioneers in scaling microfinance internationally, to draft a strategic plan to scale Main Street microfinance in the United States.

Burckart has worked with the AEO to a) help its members make sense of the changes in the fundraising status quo and what these shifts mean for the activities of U.S. micro-lenders (accessing potential new sources of capital), b) serve on the Working Capital Group of the Micro Capital Task Force (MCTF) and inform related industry strategic plan with recommendations and insights from the impact investing field, and c) showcase and raise the profile of DreamFund and TILT Forward—two new industry utilities being incubated by AEO and related to the MCTF—with investors. Related outreach:

  • For more information on the MCTF, see here.
  • Provided a speech and facilitated discussion on the "Future of Philanthropy and Emerging Tensions and Opportunities for Investing in Micro-finance at the AEO Leadership Forum on May 7, 2015. Listen to a recording of Bill's comments; and
  • Moderated a panel on “Evolving Capitalization Strategies: How New Sources and Structures of Capital are Presenting New Opportunities for US Microbusiness” in April 2013 (St. Louis, Missouri) for the Association for Enterprise Opportunity’s National Conference, where Bill was joined by Ira Lieberman, the President and CEO of LIPAM International, Inc. and the former CEO of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poorest (CGAP); and Joel Hornstein, the Managing Director of DreamFund.