Webinar: Using Data to Strengthen Financial Capability Efforts Webinar: Using Data to Strengthen Financial Capability Efforts

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November 18, 2013
Connolly Center, 4th Floor
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210

Recognizing the benefits to practitioners of being data-driven, this webinar shared the stories of two local organizations' use of data, how their usage evolved as they developed clearer pictures of their theories of change, and how using data continues to support their work. Featured guest speakers included Sherry Riva, Founder and Executive Director of Compass Working Capital and Michael Ames, Director of Mobility Mentoring Programs at Crittenton Women's Union. Each reflected on the critical role that refining their models has had on how they use data to inform their programs—both of which include the delivery of financial education as one component—and how this process has yielded positive returns in terms of data usage and being able to communicate effectively to staff internally, as well as to funders and stakeholders externally.

About the Presenters

Sherry Riva
Sherry Riva is the Founder and Executive Director of Compass Working Capital (“Compass”), a Boston-based nonprofit organization that 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.  Compass’ 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.

Under Sherry's leadership, Compass recently launched an innovative asset-building model for the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) program, an employment and savings program for recipients of federal housing assistance. The first public-private model of its kind in the country, the Compass FSS model has begun to attract local and national attention as a scalable, housing-based model to promote financial security for working, low-income families.

Prior to launching Compass, Sherry was the Executive Director at Jubilee Women's Center (JWC), a multi-site transitional housing program for homeless women in Seattle, Washington. Sherry is a graduate of Princeton University, Trinity College Dublin, and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.   

Michael Ames
Michael Ames is Director of Mobility Mentoring Programs at the Crittenton Women’s Union (CWU). His work at CWU includes providing oversight to CWU’s Mobility MentoringTM programs, a continuum of short- and long-term programs that provide mentoring and support to low-income individuals who are working to build their skills and capacities to better meet their basic needs.  Michael was also the lead author on the recently released Massachusetts Economic Independence Index 2013 (Mass. Index).

Prior to joining CWU, Michael was Site Director and Director of Evaluation and Quality Assurance for the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (MSPCC), a not-for-profit organization providing behavioral health, parent education and support, early intervention and other services to children and families. As Director of Evaluation and Quality Assurance, Michael was responsible for the organization’s evaluation and quality assurance activities. As Site Director, Michael directed MSPCC’s Boston-area services, which included a behavioral health clinic, a wraparound program, a parent education and support program, and an afterschool program. 

Michael is pursuing his Ph.D. at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and received his MSW and MBA from Boston College and a BA from Hobart College. His research and programmatic work focuses on supporting at-risk children and families, economic self-sufficiency and organizational strategy, and his dissertation will explore how efforts by low-income, single parents to achieve economic independence impacts the wellbeing of their children and how, in turn, the wellbeing of children impacts parents’ abilities to achieve greater economic independence.


Note: The views expressed by the webinar presenters are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston or the Federal Reserve System.