John Eric Nelson

John Eric Nelson is the managing partner of the Wall Street Without Walls initiative, providing financial technical assistance from finance professionals to community-based organizations in order to access the capital markets and for transactions over $3M.  Funded by major foundations, WSWW provides capital markets orientation and training programs nationally through the individual banks of the Federal Reserve Bank system and financial technical assistance to community development organizations and public agencies through teams of volunteer finance professionals, including retired and active investment bankers volunteering their expertise as a new form of philanthropy.

He also organized a WSWW exchange between China and the US on “Next Generation Philanthropy” including leading a US delegation to Beijing in 2011 and 2012.  He earlier served as director of the Corporate Partnership Program at the National Congress for Community Economic Development.  Funded as part of the Ford Foundation's Corporate Involvement Initiative, the program facilitated market-driven, business case opportunities with community-based development organizations and minority entrepreneurs in joint venture business investments. He has been involved in comprehensive environmental policy as a senior advisor to the Resource Renewal Institute’s international “Green Plan” initiative and as a consultant to the President Clinton’s Council for Sustainable Development.

Mr. Nelson has been in community economic development, management consulting, and collaborative environmental policy since the 1980s. He designed and managed the Small Business Opportunity Project for HUD to assist public housing residents plan and run their own businesses. He founded the national urban land trust program for the Trust for Public Land and managed non-profit liaison for the Chevrolet-Geo environmental program. Much of his consulting activity has been in the area of multi-sectoral collaboration on behalf of clients in business, government, and the public interest and the design and implementation of corporate social responsibility programs.

He is senior advisor for strategic relations at the Institute for Building Technology and Safety. He is the past Chair of the Board of Directors for the National Disability Institute (NDI) and previously served on the Board of Overseers of the School of Community Economic Development at Southern New Hampshire University. He is currently on the CRA Advisory Board for BB&T's Washington DC area; the Advisory Board for Impact Community Capital, Waveland Ventures and for Partners for the Common Good; and a member of the Economic Development Assistance Consortium.  

Mr. Nelson was the founding President of the William James Foundation, promoting the development of socially responsible businesses by young adults, including a nationwide business plan competition among business and graduate schools.  He has spoken as a panelist or keynote speaker before national and regional audiences for numerous conferences over the past 30 years and authored dozens of articles in various national publications on innovations in public private partnerships, innovative community development finance, and corporate social responsibility.

Mr. Nelson graduated from Yale College and co-chaired the last two class reunions; received his MA degree from the University of Michigan where he also taught social psychology; and has a certification in Community Development Finance from the Milano Graduate School of New School University.  He has been a guest lecturer in community development finance at the McDonough Business School at Georgetown University from 2001 to 2012. He was honored by Civic Ventures as a “Purpose Prize” semifinalist in 2009. 

John Eric Nelson Managing Partner,  Wall Street Without Walls

John Eric Nelson

Managing Partner, Wall Street Without Walls

Washington, District of Columbia, United States

Finance & Fiscal Impact
Project Management
Career Stage
  • Fellow
  • Next Gen
  • Mid-Career
  • Bridge
  • Encore
  • Emeritus