MassLive: Elyse Cherry seeks equity, change by always taking a seat at the table

February 26th, 2024

MassLive recognized luminaries within the LGBTQ+ community across Massachusetts for remarkable contributions across various sectors such as politics, education, business, and arts. BlueHub Capital's CEO Elyse Cherry was highlighted in this series and among the stories of those who have emerged as sources of inspiration, recognized for their pioneering achievements, leadership, and dedicated efforts to cultivate change.

Cherry's narrative is one of resilience and audacity. She openly embraced her identity as a lesbian during the 1970s—a period when societal acceptance was far less forthcoming. Facing challenges with steadfast determination, she firmly believed her sexual orientation should not dictate the course of her life. After attending Wellesley College, she pursued her legal studies at Northeastern University School of Law, known to be inclusive and supportive of LGBTQ+ students.

Cherry envisioned a world where "equality is a given, not a goal—not just for members of the LGBTQ community, but for all of us."

Cherry's career trajectory extended beyond her educational pursuits to her professional life, where she initially joined the Hale and Dorr law firm, focusing on commercial real estate and affordable housing while engaging in nonprofit activities. Her leadership journey flourished as she led BlueHub Capital, based in Roxbury, to become a significant force, boasting $1.2 billion in assets. Under her guidance, BlueHub Capital has directed over $2.6 billion towards fostering community development, from affordable housing initiatives to clean energy projects, emphasizing support for underserved areas.

Beyond her professional achievements, Cherry has played a pivotal role in the LGBTQ+ rights movement, particularly through her leadership with MassEquality, where she was instrumental in advancing the cause for same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. Her commitment to inclusivity and representation has spanned several influential roles, including co-chairing The Boston Foundation’s Equality Fund and serving on the boards of GLAD and LPAC. Cherry's advocacy efforts extend to ensuring LGBTQ+ voices are heard within the political landscape.

Cherry's ethos is encapsulated in her encouragement to others:

"Don’t let others define you. Lives make much more sense from the back end than the front end, and the future is often murky. Nonetheless, we can figure out where we want to go—maybe not for all time, but for at least a next step or two. Then, we need to put ourselves out there. The world changes because we all change it. You, too, can build the life, and the world, you want."

For more on Elyse Cherry's story and her dedication to making a difference, explore the full series on MassLive.