Elyse D. Cherry
Elyse Cherry has served since 1997 as the Chief Executive Officer of BlueHub Capital, a community finance institution that has made more than $2 billion in investments in underserved communities nationwide. Cherry helped found BlueHub in 1984 as a member of its original Board of Directors. During her tenure, BlueHub has grown from its Boston roots into an organization with national reach, becoming a model for community investment in the United States.
Under Cherry’s leadership, BlueHub has consistently conceived, developed, and implemented innovative new approaches to fulfilling its mission to create healthy communities where low-income people live and work. BlueHub created a first-of-its-kind initiative to keep homeowners facing foreclosure from losing their homes by offering them a 30-year mortgage with a payment they can afford. BlueHub also pioneered new utility benchmarking software to help drive down energy use, costs, and carbon emissions in affordable multifamily housing developments. These innovations have come even as BlueHub has grown into one of the largest community development financial institutions in the country, making loans to build affordable housing, health centers, schools, and other community facilities, and to promote job creation, sustainability, and community resiliency.
Cherry is an active civic and business leader. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of Eastern Bank and the Boards of Directors of the Boston Foundation and the Forsyth Institute. She has served on the boards of directors of more than a dozen privately held companies, including Zipcar and Pilgrim Insurance Company. She is a past chair of the Massachusetts Cultural Council; served as a member of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s statewide transition team; and was appointed by Governor Patrick to his Foreclosure Impacts Task Force. Cherry has also served as Vice Chair of the Opportunity Finance Network, a national organization of community development financial institutions. A focus of Cherry’s civic service has been fighting for LGBTQ equality. She chaired the board of Mass Equality during that organization’s historic fight for marriage equality in the Commonwealth, and she has served on the boards of GLAD and the Lesbian Political Action Committee.
Cherry’s professional and civic service have earned her regional, national, and international recognition. The Financial Times and OUTstanding named her one of the world’s Top 100 LGBT Executives. Women’s eNews named her one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century. 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. That same year, Cherry was awarded the Susan M. Love Award by Fenway Health. The Boston Business Journal has named Cherry to its Power 50 list of influential Bostonians. For many years, the Boston Globe and the Commonwealth Institute have recognized BlueHub as one of the Top 100 Women-Led Businesses in Massachusetts.
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. Early in her career, Cherry served as a field examiner for the National Labor Relations Board and as a VISTA volunteer in rural Tennessee. Cherry has authored opinion pieces for the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and regularly speaks at national conferences.
Cherry is a graduate of Wellesley College and the Northeastern University Law School. She received Wellesley’s Alumnae Achievement Award in 2017. She previously served on the Dean’s Council of Northeastern University Law School and delivered the school’s student commencement address.