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A Pathway Out of Poverty

Sherry Riva

As the Founder and Executive Director of Compass Working Capital, Sherry Riva is helping working, low-income families build savings and financial capabilities as a way out of poverty. Riva believes public housing should be less of a safety net and more of a springboard to greater economic opportunity. Compass provides the tools to empower low-income families and individuals to be more self-sufficient and avoid getting “stuck” in HUD rental assistance programs long-term. For her work, Riva was selected as a 2015 GLG Social Impact Fellow. Riva sits down with GLG to discuss Compass, the path to economic empowerment, and the limitations of subsidized housing programs.

2015 GLG Social Impact Fellow Sherry Riva is the Founder and Executive Director of Compass Working Capital, a nonprofit financial services organization for low-income families that promotes economic mobility and financial security assistance. Riva has been a nonprofit manager and entrepreneur for more than a decade, primarily serving low-income women and their families. Before founding Compass, Riva planned, launched, and managed the Princeton Project 55 Social Venture Fund, a venture philanthropy fund that identifies and invests in emerging social entrepreneurs. Previously, Riva served as Executive Director at Jubilee Women’s Center, a multi-site transitional housing program for homeless women in Seattle. She received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University, a Master’s in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Master’s in Philosophy (Ecumenics) from Trinity College Dublin.