Elyse Cherry is Chief Executive Officer of Boston Community Capital, where, under her leadership, Boston Community Capital has invested nearly $1 billion in projects that provide affordable housing, good jobs, and new opportunities in low-income communities, helping to connect these neighborhoods to the mainstream economy. Elyse is also President of Aura Mortgage and Boston Community Venture Fund, both affiliates of Boston Community Capital.
Elyse helped found Boston Community Capital in 1984 as a member of its original Board of Directors. Since then, she 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. After serving as chair of the organization’s board of directors, she took the helm on a full-time basis in 1997.During her tenure as CEO, Elyse has spearheaded two successful rounds of aggressively implemented strategic planning and has grown assets under management from $30 million to over $840 million. 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 lender aimed at stabilizing urban neighborhoods, a real estate acquisition entity, and an alternative energy initiative focused on measuring and controlling utility costs in multi-family and affordable housing.
Elyse is an active civic leader. She is currently co-chairing the finance committee for Martha Coakley for Governor of Massachusetts. She is a member of the Massachusetts Governor’s Foreclosure Impacts Task Force and the Advisory Committee to the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. She is the past Chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and chaired the Board of MassEquality in 2004-2006 during the height of that organization’s successful campaign for the establishment and protection of marriage equality in Massachusetts. Elyse currently serves on the Board of Directors of Forsythe Institute, anindependent research institute specializing in oral health and its impact on overall wellness and LPAC, a political action committee created to support candidates who champion issues impacting lesbians and their families including ending discriminatory treatment of LGBT individuals and their families; supporting sexual and reproductive freedom and women’s access to quality health care; and furthering social, racial, and economic justice for all Americans. She has served as Vice Chair of Opportunity Finance Network, a national organization of community finance intermediaries, on the Mission Driven Investment Committee of the Kellogg Foundation, on the Dean’s Council of Northeastern University Law School, and on the external Board of the Institute for Global Leadership at Tufts University. Elyse is a frequent panelist and speaker at national conferences. She is also an avid traveler, particularly in the developing world.
Women’s eNews recently named Elyse one of its “21 Leaders for the 21st Century,”citing her experience building BCC and her ability to make financial tools accessible and useful to working women. GO Magazine recently named her to its list of leading out nonprofit leaders in its “Women at the Helm” feature.
Elyse 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. Early in her career, Elyse served as a field examiner at the New England region of the National Labor Relations Board and as a VISTA volunteer in rural Tennessee. Elyse is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Northeastern University School of Law. MA Licensed Loan Officer (NMLS # 649173).