Meet Matthew Marchbanks, Program Specialist – AmeriCorps EMC at Access Plus Capital. He is a passionate advocate for economic justice and a key player in bridging the financial gap for underserved communities in California’s Central Valley. Driven by a deep-seated commitment instilled by his community-minded family, Matthew’s path led him to Access Plus Capital, the region’s premier Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).
Growing up in Chicago, Matthew witnessed firsthand the stark disparities in economic development, particularly in historically marginalized neighborhoods. This ignited a fire within him, fueling a desire to understand and address the systemic inequities that hampered community growth. His studies in economics and geography at Howard University further solidified his resolve, and the opportunity with LISC AmeriCorps opened his eyes to the impactful work of CDFIs.
“I saw how economic growth could be used as a tool for good,” Matthew explains. “But it needed to be mindful of the past, of the communities that had been left behind by redlining and disinvestment.” This realization propelled him towards Access Plus Capital, where he could actively contribute to building a more equitable landscape in the Central Valley.
The Thrill of Ideation and Seeing Plans Come to Life
As a Project Manager at Access Plus Capital, Matthew finds immense satisfaction in the “ideation and planning” phases of his work. From conceptualizing initiatives to meticulously mapping out their execution, he revels in the process of watching ideas transform into tangible realities. “The most rewarding part,” he says, “is seeing months of planning culminate in a successful program launch, knowing that we’ve made a positive impact under our mission statement.”
Embracing the Challenge of Constant Learning
But Matthew also acknowledges the inherent challenges of navigating a burgeoning industry like the CDFI sector. “There’s always something new to learn, new nuances to grasp,” he admits. “It pushes me outside my comfort zone, but that’s where growth happens.” This continuous learning curve, though demanding, fuels his professional development and keeps him engaged in the ever-evolving landscape of community development.
Making a Real Difference: A Project Close to Matthew’s Heart
One project particularly close to Matthew’s heart is the ongoing business development initiative in a rural Fresno community. Taking the lead alongside his colleagues at Access Plus Capital, he’s excited about the potential to empower local entrepreneurs and inject economic vitality into a historically marginalized area. “Witnessing these communities thrive is what keeps me going,” he says, his voice brimming with conviction.
A Calling, Not Just a Career: Advice for Aspiring Changemakers
For those considering a career in the CDFI industry, Matthew has a clear message: “There are so many doors, so many departments, so much need for passionate individuals like you. This is a growing field with a diverse range of roles, and if you’re driven by the mission, there’s no better place to find your niche and make a real difference.”
Matthew Marchbanks is more than just an employee at Access Plus Capital; he’s an embodiment of the organization’s commitment to economic justice. His story is a testament to the power of individual drive and the transformative potential of CDFIs in building a more equitable future for underserved communities.
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