Shared Values — a cause and an action.
Compass Working Capital
Mission: Compass Working Capital ("Compass") provides incentive-based savings and financial coaching programs that empower working, low-income families to build assets, achieve their financial goals, and become financially secure. Our broader vision is to build a leading, nonprofit financial services organization that promotes economic mobility and financial security for working poor families by influencing field-related practice and policy.
About: Is there a way that low-income people can reach the dreams and aspirations that they have for a better life, and make a real and permanent transition out of poverty?
For our founder, Sherry Riva, this was the question she found herself asking after a decade working in direct service organizations with low-income women and their families. While the work of providing emergency aid or transitional shelter was important and necessary, it revealed a troublesome reality in the ways that we address poverty in this country: even those we serve that might be deemed a success are still only one paycheck or one emergency away from being back in crisis.
And so, in 2005, Compass began as a humble undertaking to find an answer to that question.
After months of careful research, we launched our first program to provide financial coaching and a matched savings account to 10 families at a charter school in Roxbury, Massachusetts. Each week, Sherry sat down with mothers and fathers who shared the same dreams for their kids as she had for her own two young daughters, and worked with families to figure out how to garner the resources needed to make those dreams a reality. Compass was, and continues to be, centered on that personal relationship with a client, that sense of two people working together to reach the goals of one.
By consistently listening to the families we serve and learning from them, our work has continued to grow. And all along the way, we've watched and researched carefully to drive towards an answer to that original question - to identify just what combination of knowledge, skills, and supports are necessary so that motivated low-income people and their families can build a pathway out of poverty.
In so doing, we've built the only organization in the country that can say our focus is on finance for working poor families. We've developed a reputation for focused, disciplined execution on what it is that we've learned how to do very well. And we've positioned ourselves to share what we're learning in ways that can reshape how we address poverty in this country.
Partner Since: 2016
Founder (year established): Sherry Riva (2005)