Heather McCulloch is the founder of Asset Building Strategies, a consulting firm that advances policies and strategies to build the financial security of low-wealth individuals and families by helping them to build financial assets. Ms. McCulloch has been a pioneer in the asset-building field, supporting innovation at the local, state and national levels.
Examples of innovation and leadership:
- Heather recently founded the Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap Initiative, a national effort to advance policies and strategies to build wealth for low-income women and women of color. The initiative is supported by AARP, the Friedman Family Foundation, and the Walter and Elise Haas Fund. JPMorgan Chase & Co. supports the initiative’s national meetings. (See recent Los Angeles Times op-ed and video).
- In the spring of 2016, Heather served as Visiting Professor with the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. She co-taught, “Tackling Inequality through Equitable Development – Perspectives on Place, Race and Class in the San Francisco Bay Area,” with Fred Blackwell, CEO of the San Francisco Foundation.
- She recently authored a report, “Building Wealth through Tax Reform: Opportunities for Grantmakers,” with the national Asset Funders Network.
- For the past five years, she has supported the PolicyLink financial security team, which is working to close the racial wealth gap and expand access to savings and investment opportunities for low-income households and households of color.
- She was the founding director of the Tax Alliance for Economic Mobility, a national coalition working to advance federal policies that expand savings and investment opportunities for lower-income households through reform of the U.S. tax code. Launched by the national Asset Funders Network in 2013, the initiative is currently co-chaired by CFED and PolicyLink.
- Between 2010 and 2013, Heather helped lead a national dialogue on the disparate impact of foreclosure on communities of color with the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
- Between 2007 and 2013, she worked with San Francisco Bay Area Foundations to establish a regional initiative to support asset-building programs in the nine-county region through the Bay Area Asset Support Center and then the Bay Area Asset Funders Network.
- Between 2008 and 2010, Heather co-facilitated a national discussion and co-authored a report on ways to expand asset-building opportunities through shared ownership for the Annie E. Casey Foundation.
- From 2005 to 2007, she managed the planning for the Mission Asset Fund (MAF) with the Levi Strauss Foundation, community leaders and residents of the San Francisco Mission District.
- In 2003, Heather worked with the non-profit EARN to establish the Asset Policy Initiative of California, a statewide effort to advance public policies to support asset-building in California. She has since supported asset-building initiatives in other states and had presented to funders and state legislators about the need for asset-building policies to strengthen the financial security of working families.
Heather has authored several national publications describing emerging trends and opportunities in the asset-building field and has presented on asset-building policies and strategies to national, state and local audiences.
Prior to founding Asset Building Strategies, Heather was a senior associate at the national nonprofit, PolicyLink. She has a master’s degree in international political economy from the London School of Economics and a bachelor’s degree in political economy from the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently a board member of La Luz Center of Sonoma and served on the advisory board of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation’s financial education and asset building program from 2011 to 2016.