37 Executive Director - Project Enterprise, New York City
Arva Rice is the executive director of Project Enterprise, a micro-credit organization that provides business loans, technical assistance and peer support to New York City entrepreneurs who lack adequate access to conventional business financing. She oversees a staff of eight and is responsible for the overall administrative, fiscal and fund-raising functions of the organization, as well as the design and implementation of a yearly strategic plan.
Rice certainly comes well qualified to her current position. At 37, she has more than 15 years experience working for nonprofits. She has worked with The Valley Youth Program, been technical assistant director for The Fund for the City of New York and program director of Girls Inc. in New York. In the last role, she had primary responsibility for raising an economic literacy budget of $300,000 and developing an advisory board. All of these roles helped prepare Rice for one of her proudest moments when, just prior to accepting her current position, she founded and served as executive director of Public Allies New York. Rice designed and implemented the organization's first fund-raising plan and annual event and successfully achieved all defined goals. Responsible for raising funds for and managing the annual budget, by the second year she had exceeded the organization's fund-raising goals. Rice also co-founded the Sisters Lending Circle, which trained low-income young women in personal-money and small business management.
Perhaps Rice's business savvy is inherited from her parents, who operated a small business with the goal of making enough money to send all four of their children to college. They accomplished that goal, and Rice continues to view her parents and their determination as the standard to which she should adhere. “We see farther because we stand on the shoulders of giants” is her mantra, she says.
Rice, who holds a bachelor's and a master's degree from Northwestern University and Columbia University, respectively, chairs North Star's board of directors and is a member of 100 Black Women and Women and Girls Giving Circle, 21st Century Foundation. Still, she wishes she could volunteer more, especially with nonprofits serving women and girls