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 @followthelede: Seeing that Markita Morris-Louis of @CompassWorkCap, @dianamlind, @andersonatlarge, @jennacollinsesq and @Charl3magn3 ar…
  • Markita Morris-Louis | People on the Move - Boston Business Journal https://t.co/glkA3m8bXu via @BosBizJournal
  • The Black Affinity Group at Compass shared this Holiday Newsletter with their colleagues last month. It's packed wi… https://t.co/YCyquEPVfD
  • When the calendar turns over to 2022, Compass will welcome Markita Morris-Louis as our new CEO. In the last hours o… https://t.co/2Y3a1HJCDZ
  • 💸Help us unlock a $25K matching gift! 💸A generous supporter is matching all gifts made by new donors for the month… https://t.co/nO1sH00i0o
  • ✨"When I learned about Compass’ FSS program, I was completely hooked. I immediately wanted to be a part of this mov… https://t.co/NwRQ3eXTEJ
  • RT @positivelyptnrs: Are you a strategic leader with vision and commitment to inclusivity? Are you looking to join an impactful organizatio…
  • It's our mission to support families with low incomes to build assets and reach their goals like homeownership, sav… https://t.co/7i9DhyXAZC
  • 📰Today we're releasing the first research ever conducted on FSS programs run by multifamily housing providers. The… https://t.co/Mi5tX2x5xU
  • RT @positivelyptnrs: Are you looking to shape strategy at an organization with a model proven to end asset poverty for thousands of familie…
  • RT @positivelyptnrs: Join a team committed to providing savings & financial coaching programs that support families with low incomes to bui…
  • 📽️ Get to know Sabrina, a participant in our FSS program w/ @MetroHousingBos & member of our Client Advisory Board!… https://t.co/KAqja3xmdG
  • ✨Check out this special video message from our CSO Markita on the incredible legacy built by our founder Sherry Riv… https://t.co/fl38KGUIpu
  • RT @4SharedInsight: What is perceptual #feedback, and how is it different from other types of feedback? How can it help #nonprofits advance…
  • ICYMI: Check out our #SmallBusiness Spotlight, featuring clients in our FSS programs who have started or expanded t… https://t.co/kUvCb5Vdof
  • 📽️Check out this special video message from our Founder and CEO Sherry Riva on all that we’re grateful for this hol… https://t.co/ckrf00Q8wM
  • RT @abtassociates: The Compass FSS program helps families with housing vouchers increase their earnings & build assets & financial capabili…
  • We're proud to share our 2021 Impact Report outlining another great year of growth and progress towards our mission… https://t.co/71VVJWQCLy
  • RT @Harvard_JCHS: TOMORROW @ 5:30 pm ET: How do we close the gap between research and practice when it comes to housing and economic mobili…