Sherry Riva | Founder and Executive Director

Sherry is the Founder and Executive Director of Compass Working Capital (“Compass”), a nonprofit financial services organization with a mission to empower families with low income to build assets and financial capabilities as a pathway out of poverty.  Compass’s broader vision is to promote economic mobility and financial security for working poor families by influencing field-related practice and policy.  

Under Sherry's leadership, Compass has launched and expanded an innovative asset-building model for the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) program, an employment and savings program for recipients of federal housing assistance. The first public-private model of its kind in the country, the Compass FSS model has attracted local and national attention as a scalable, housing-based model to promote financial security for working families with low income.

Sherry founded Compass after more than a decade working with various direct service organizations that served low-income women and families, including several years running a transitional shelter for women in Seattle, WA. During this time, Sherry observed first-hand the cycle of poverty that traps many families. It was through this work that Sherry was inspired to focus on asset-building as a means for families to move up and out of poverty. 

Sherry is a Draper Richards Kaplan Social Entrepreneur and a GLG Social Impact Fellow. Compass was selected by Citi Community Development as an Innovation and Impact Fund winner in 2014, and is listed on the Social Impact (S&I) 100, the first-ever, broad index of U.S. nonprofits with proven results and strong potential to scale.

Sherry received an A.B. from Princeton University, an MPP from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Master's in Philosophy (Ecumenics) from Trinity College Dublin.

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