Economic Progress Institute names Keys new board chair

PROVIDENCE – Dwayne Keys, the director of programs, multifamily for the Boston-based nonprofit Compass Working Capital, has been named the new board chair for the Economic Progress Institute, the organization announced Nov. 17.

The institute is a research and policy organization that works to ensure economic security for low- and modest-income Rhode Islanders. Keys assumes the role previously held by Jessica Sherwood, a Johnson & Wales University sociology professor who is retiring from the board after six years.

The institute says Keys has been with Compass Working Capital, a nonprofit dedicated to ending asset poverty with a focus on Black and Latina women-led households, since 2017. Prior to that, Keys, the institute says, spent 13 years working in for-profit banking and financial services. Among the roles Keys held in that industry were in sales, customer relationship management and service.

“I am looking forward to advances we will make next year on expanding paid family leave, ending predatory lending and centering equity in the decision-making process,” Keys said in a statement. “As the new board chair, I am looking forward to another year of victories for EPI and the people of Rhode Island.”

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Additionally, the institute welcomed three new board members. They are:

  • Doris Blanchard, R.I. Commerce Corp. director of small business programs
  • Erica Hammond, Climate Jobs Rhode Island lead organizer
  • Joseph Maya Rodriguez, Rise Group operation and analytics manager

James Bessette is the PBN special projects editor, and also covers the nonprofit and education sectors. You may reach him at You may also follow him on Twitter at @James_Bessette.

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