Model & Strategy

Compass Working Capital provides incentive-based financial coaching and savings programs that empower working, low-income families to build assets, achieve their financial goals and become financially secure. More broadly, Compass seeks to build a leading nonprofit financial services organization that promotes financial security and economic mobility for working poor families by influencing field-related practice and policy.

Compass is the first nonprofit organization in the U.S. to launch an asset building model for the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program, an employment and savings program for families who live in federally subsidized housing – a market with the potential to reach approximately 1.6 million eligible households nationwide. The Compass FSS model identifies and invests in working, low-income families who seek to build a strong financial future. The program couples financial coaching and education with a powerful earnings and savings incentive to help participants increase their income, build assets, establish a strong credit history, access high quality financial products and reduce their reliance on public assistance.

At a Glance
Founded: 2005
Founder & Executive Director: Sherry Riva
Systemic Poverty
Location of work: Domestic, Northeast
Compass Working Capital
Boston, MA
Where families Aspire. Plan. Invest.
Sherry Riva of Compass Working Capital
Meet Sherry Riva

Sherry Riva is the Founder and Executive Director of Compass Working Capital (“Compass”). 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 working poor families. She launched Compass, an organization rooted in the anti-poverty and asset development field, to empower working poor families to build savings and assets as a pathway out of poverty.

Sherry is part of the 2015 class of GLG (Gerson Lehrman Group) Social Impact Fellows joining 12 world-leading innovators and nonprofit leaders. Sherry was also a 2013 recipient of Citi’s Community Development Innovation and Impact Fund. In 2013, Compass was selected to the Social Impact 100, the first-ever, broad index of U.S. nonprofits with proven results and strong potential to scale.

IMPACT

A multi-year, quasi-experimental study of Compass’s program concluded that participants earned more income and received fewer welfare payments than their matched peers. They also achieved positive credit and debt outcomes that exceeded benchmarks.

An interim cost-benefit analysis found that participants gained more than $10,000 in increased income over a five-year period as a result of participation in the program, at a net cost to the government of only $276 per participant.

In 2018, Compass leveraged its on-the-ground expertise to help pass federal legislation that will expand the scope and impact of an asset-building program for families living in federally subsidized housing, and increase federal funding for the program.

  • RT @EmpowermentMA: We are live 🔴 with our #MoneyTalkTuesday workshop on the Family Self Sufficiency program. We are joined by @CompassWorkC…
  • Thank you to everyone who contributed to our year-end fundraising campaign! Together we exceeded our goal and secur… https://t.co/w4WIGjcMbj
  • RT @EmpowermentMA: The Family Self Sufficiency program helps families increase their earned income, and reduce their need for rental assist…
  • RT @BettyFrancisco: 💸 Applications open for @MassGCC Sector Specific Relief Grant Program. Small businesses may apply for up to $75,000, or…
  • RT @IRSnews: #IRS begins delivering a second round of Economic Impact Payments to millions of Americans. There’s no need for taxpayers to t…
  • We’re staffing up in the new year! Compass is hiring a Program Manager, a Marketing & Comms Manager and Financial… https://t.co/GeHIfBrbol
  • RT @CotterReporter: Some news: The Boston Housing Authority is extending its eviction moratorium by two months, continuing the coronavirus-…
  • RT @MassEOHED: >@MassGCC has posted program details about new grants for Massachusetts businesses impacted by #COVID19MA, including applica…
  • RT @prosperitynow: Children's Savings Account Programs Can Help Families Build Savings and Envision College https://t.co/KsmYPZhEnr
  • RT @EmpowermentMA: Family Self Sufficiency: @HUDgov's Best Kept Secret In two weeks, we are hosting a #MoneyTalkTuesday with @CompassWorkC…
  • From all of us at Compass Working Capital, thank you for all your support in 2020. Happy holidays and best wishes f… https://t.co/sDJCiah2pu
  • RT @ctriley71: Wishing the Twitterverse the happiest of holidays! Fondly, the staff @CompassWorkCap 🎄❄️☺️ #HappiestSeason #HolidaySeason ht…
  • RT @AmplifyLatinx: 2020 has dramatically exposed pervasive structural racism in U.S. This field note by @BostonFed reveals some of the most…
  • .@axios Hard truth: Renters of color pay a premium for housing. #COVID19-induced evictions could exacerbate high le… https://t.co/BTpQvQzEfw
  • Unequal access to home ownership remains a major barrier to building wealth for families of color. Join @axios on 1… https://t.co/qvT8GMxgIo
  • RT @buildcommwealth: "Amid the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus...the 401(k) industry 'is beginning to embrace short-term savings…
  • RT @revrenddoctor: If you want to understand the partial roots of the racial wealth gap in #Boston (#Black median net worth: $8; white medi…
  • RT @IASP_Heller: $290 Billion Would Be Created in Black Wealth if The Revenue Gap Between Black and White Businesses Was Equal - https://t.…
  • RT @positivelyptnrs: Do you believe in the ability of people to achieve their goals and dreams?Join Compass Working Capital's team as a Fin…
  • RT @positivelyptnrs: We are #hiring! Join Compass Working Capital's growing team and work with others supporting families with low incomes…