Dr. Carter Garber, the IDEAS CEO, has 48 years of professional experience in the field of community economic development in developing countries and communities. As an economist, evaluator, and practitioner, he has been an international finance and development consultant and trainer on four continents. Having been an international pioneer in impact evaluation and impact investing, Carter continues to assist investors, investment funds, social enterprises, and organizations at the community level who are creating the impacts.
In impact evaluation, Carter has been a developer of tools and educational curriculum in impact assessment and trained evaluators and practitioners around the world. Carter teaches workshops on impact investing and evaluation at the American Evaluation Association. Carter has been a trainer and consultant for IDEAS on most of the topics described on this website. Carter has led the IDEAS team and the associate consultants to provide market research, product development, institutional building, inclusive finance, enterprise development, and different types of evaluation.
Dr. Garber is a serial social entrepreneur who has helped form five financial institutions. Carter has the benefit of knowing the microfinance institutions (MFIs) from most vantage points. He founded an MFI and served as its CEO in Nicaragua, chaired the board of directors of another MFI in El Salvador, lent to multiple MFIs; performed due diligence, and provided strategic advice to major European and US lending agencies and donors to MFIs. He has evaluated MFIs in many countries and assisted them to do self-appraisals and market research to develop new products.
Carter has provided consulting advice through the years to a variety of actors, including inclusive finance institutions, NGOs, PVO networks, lending agencies, and donors. He has been an international microfinance consultant to many major international institutions and donors. Dr. Garber has served as a trainer and consultant to the leaders of national microfinance networks in Latin America, Africa, Asia, the US and the Middle East.
Dr. Garber has been a founder of some 15 other social enterprises and development organizations in North and Latin America. One distinguishing mark is that Dr. Garber not only founds social enterprises but turns them over in a turn-key manner to indigenous staff after ensuring their viability. He builds enterprises to last – eight have continued beyond their 20th anniversary and four are celebrating 3 decades. Carter was the founding staff member of Metro Fair Housing Services that has celebrated its 42th anniversary.
Carter was the founding CEO of TecAp, which was the first microfranchise in Nicaragua. It trained 76 youth microfranchisees as solar installers of rooftop systems and 100 women microfranchisees who sold small solar items in remote rural areas of northern Nicaragua. He helped arrange financing for coffee coop members and others to be able to buy solar systems.
Dr. Garber has taught in universities in the United States, Africa, and Latin America. He is a Visiting Professor at the Jesuit University in El Salvador (UCA) where he has taught professionals from community organizations who are graduate students. He created courses to teach them to evaluate community issues in their own organizations and present the findings to help motivate programmatic change. He co-founded a program at Tulane University and taught courses for 6 years. Carter was the founder of the three-week Microenterprise Development Institute at Southern New Hampshire University. Carter has taught at other universities including American University, Georgia State University, Universidad Americana in Nicaragua, and the University of the North in Polokwane, South Africa. Carter established various tuition-based educational institutes in the US (including a branch in Africa) and Central America .
Before going to live and work in Central America, Carter worked 13 years in rural and urban community economics and civil rights in the Southeastern US. Carter was the founding Director of a network of social enterprises called the Tennessee Network for Community Economic Development. In addition, He founded and managed a consulting group in the Southern US in the 1970s-80s. Carter has written training materials on evaluation, inclusive finance, entrepreneurship, microfranchise, and other practical topics in Spanish and English. He has written articles, monographs, and book chapters. Carter earned a Ph.D. in Economics with concentrations in finance, development economics and microeconomics.