Elyse Cherry

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President & CEO, Boston Community Capital

Elyse Cherry is Chief Executive Officer of Boston Community Capital, and President of its affiliates, Boston Venture Fund, Aura Mortgage Advisors and NSP Residential. Ms. Cherry helped found Boston Community Capital in 1984 as a member of its original Board of Directors. Since then, Ms. Cherry has been integrally involved in the development and growth of Boston Community Capital from a start-up organization to what is, today, a national model for community investment. Since joining the organization full-time as CEO in 1997, she has spearheaded two successful rounds of aggressively implemented strategic planning and has grown assets under management by a factor of more than thirty-five.  Under her leadership, Boston Community Capital has grown from a single, debt-based business line to a multi-tiered organization that includes two double bottom-line venture funds, a national tax credit program, a mortgage brokerage, a mortgage lender aimed at stabilizing urban neighborhoods, a real estate acquisition entity, and an alternative energy initiative focused on controlling utility costs in multi-family affordable housing developments.

Ms. Cherry has served on the boards of directors of more than a dozen privately held companies including Pilgrim Insurance Company, Zipcar, and Acelero Learning.  In addition, Ms. Cherry is an active civic leader. She is a member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Foreclosure Impacts Task Force, appointed by Governor Deval Patrick, and a member of the Advisory Committee to the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.  She serves on the Board of The Forsyth Institute, the Dean’s Council of Northeastern University Law School, the Mission Driven Investment Committee of the Kellogg Foundation, and the external Board of the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University.  She served as a member of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s nineteen-member statewide transition team. She is a recent past Chair of both the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Mass Equality, an organization dedicated to the establishment and protection of civil marriage for the LGBT community.  She has also served as Vice Chair of Opportunity Finance Network, a national organization of community development financial institutions.  Ms. Cherry is a frequent panelist and speaker at national conferences.   She is also an avid traveler, particularly in the developing world.

Ms. Cherry is an attorney and a former partner at the law firm of Hale and Dorr, now known as Wilmer Hale, where her transactional practice focused on commercial real estate finance and development.  In 1992, Ms. Cherry left Hale and Dorr to become Vice President and Counsel of SRB Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Plymouth Rock Assurance Corporation.  She subsequently served as CEO of Earthwide Products Corporation, an investment fund targeting environmental businesses.  Early in her career, Ms. Cherry served as a field examiner at the New England region of the National Labor Relations Board and as a VISTA volunteer in rural Tennessee.   Ms. Cherry is a graduate of Wellesley College (1975) and the Northeastern University School of Law where she delivered the student commencement address.