Elyse D. Cherry
Elyse Cherry is Chief Executive Officer of Boston Community Capital, a sustainable $1 billion national nonprofit organization fighting for social and economic justice. Under her leadership, Boston Community Capital has leveraged $6 billion of public and private investment in underserved communities nationwide. Elyse helped found Boston Community Capital in 1984 as a member of its original Board of Directors and has been integrally involved in its development and growth from a start-up organization to what is, today, a national model for community investment. Cherry has authored opinion pieces for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post, among others. In 2015, The Financial Times named her one of the Top 100 OUTstanding LGBTQ Executives in the world. In 2014, the White House named her a Solar Champion of Change for her pioneering work to bring the benefits of solar energy to low-income communities.
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, she is an active civic leader. She is a past Chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and chaired the board of Mass Equality during that organization’s historic fight for marriage equality in the Commonwealth. In 2015, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice awarded her its Fueling the Frontlines award for her work to promote LGBTQ concerns in business and the workplace. In 2014, Cherry was awarded the Susan M. Love Award by Fenway Health; Women’s eNews named her one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century; and The Boston Business Journal named her to its Power 50 list of influential Bostonians. Cherry served as a member of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s nineteen-member statewide transition team and was appointed by the governor to the Massachusetts Governor’s Foreclosure Impacts Task Force and 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 Board of Free For All, the Board of Selectech, Inc. and is Executive Chair of the Board of WegoWise, Inc. She has also served as Vice Chair of Opportunity Finance Network, a national organization of community development financial institutions, on the Mission Driven Investment Committee of the Kellogg Foundation, and on the board of the Lesbian Political Action Committee, which is committed to positively impacting policies that impact women. Cherry is a frequent panelist and speaker at national conferences. She is also an avid traveler, particularly in the developing world.
Cherry is an attorney and a former partner at the law firm of Hale and Dorr, now Wilmer Hale, where her transactional practice focused on commercial real estate finance and development. In 1992, 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, 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. Cherry is a graduate of Wellesley College (1975) and the Northeastern University School of Law where she delivered the student commencement address.