Press Release

The Economic Progress Institute Announces Dwayne Keys of Compass Working Capital as New Board Chair

Last updated: December 08, 2023

The Economic Progress Institute Announces Dwayne Keys of Compass Working Capital as New Board Chair

Doris Blanchard, Erica Hammond, and Joseph Maya Rodriguez introduced as new board members

Friday, November 17, 2023

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Economic Progress Institute (EPI) announced Dwayne Keys as the new Board Chair. EPI also announced the addition of Doris Blanchard, Erica Hammond, and Joseph Maya Rodriguez to EPI’s Board of Directors. 

"EPI is well positioned for another year of policy wins for low- and -moderate income Rhode Islanders with the support of our new Board Chair, Dwayne Keys, current board members and addition of three new board members," said Weayonnoh Nelson-Davies, Executive Director, Economic Progress Institute. "I would also like to thank our retiring Board Chair, Jessica Sherwood, and retiring board members for their dedication and leadership to improving equity and economic justice for all Rhode Islanders." 

“The staff and board of the Economic Progress Institute are committed to advancing economic justice for every Rhode Islander,” said Dwayne Keys, EPI Board Chair. “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. As the new Board Chair I am looking forward to another year of victories for EPI and the people of Rhode Island.” 

Dwayne Keys works at Compass Working Capital, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending asset poverty with a focus on Black and Latina women-led households. Prior to joining Compass in 2017, he spent 13 years working in for-profit banking and financial services, holding roles in customer relationship management, service and sales. For over 19 years Dwayne has advocated on behalf of historically excluded communities for economic justice and full inclusion in economic prosperity, with a focus on eliminating poverty, preventing displacement, and supporting anti-racism initiatives. Dwayne attended Johnson & Wales University where he earned his A.S. in Retailing, B.S. in Marketing, and M.B.A. in International Trade. He is an Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) and certified in Financial Social Work. 

“It’s a great honor to serve the director role and contribute to the mission and vision of EPI,” said new board member Doris Blanchard. “I am looking forward to sharing my attained experience serving in various boards and committees in the state, and to apply my set skills to the needed obligation this role pertains to address key issues and accomplish the main mission of the organization; to improving the economic well-being of low-and modest-income Rhode Islanders.” 

Doris Blanchard is the Director of Small Business Programs at the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation, where she oversees all aspects of the most pivotal program at RI Commerce, Supply RI. A collaborative of Rhode Island-based institutions and corporations committed to share infrastructure and coordinate efforts to increase local procurement including Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), Women Business Enterprises (WBE) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), and Veteran Business Enterprises (VBE). She oversees the Small Business Assistance Program (SBAP), a key access to capital program in the state that provides an opportunity to businesses that are starting up or are having difficulty obtaining financing from traditional lending organizations. The program focuses on women- and minority-owned enterprises, as well as those in Rhode Island’s underserved communities. 

“As part of the Economic Progress Institute Board of Directors I am looking forward to continuing progress on economic justice for Rhode Island’s workers,” said Erica Hammond. “EPI is a leader on equity centered policy in our state and it is an honor to serve on the board to advance the mission.” 

Erica is the Lead Organizer at Climate Jobs Rhode Island --a coalition of labor, environmental, and community organizations committed to building an equitable, pro-worker, pro-climate green economy. She is a member of the executive boards of the RI AFL-CIO, Fuerza Laboral, and Clean Water Action PAC. She is also co-chairperson of the RI Council for Occupational Safety and Health (RICOSH) and Treasurer of the Coalition of Labor Union Women RI chapter (CLUW RI). Erica’s journey in advocating for workers’ rights and fostering economic justice is further underscored by her tenure as the Workforce Labor Liaison at the Institute for Labor Studies and Research (ILSR). During this time, she established strong relationships with RI’s local unions and state agencies. "I am honored to be part of an organization focused on nonpartisan research and policy solutions,” said Joseph Maya Rodriguez. 

“I firmly believe in the significance of providing unbiased information regarding policy and economic choices to empower and inform residents. Knowledge is key for organizing and working for a better economic future for all Rhode islanders." 

Joseph Maya Rodriguez has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus and a master’s degree in public administration from Rutgers University, Newark Campus. Joseph served as a data analyst for the Rhode Island Health Department, from 2019 to 2023. While at RIDOH, Joseph developed data analyses and created dashboards that allow residents to learn more about environmental and social risks in Rhode Island and the impact on health. Joseph currently serves as Operation and Analytics Manager for Rise Group, where he leads the analytics team. 

The Economic Progress Institute is a non-partisan research and policy organization that works to ensure the economic security of low- and modest-income Rhode Islanders. To learn more about The Economic Progress Institute, visit


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