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Tate Hill: Born to Beat the Odds

Tate Hill’s parents were both teachers and entrepreneurs who thrived against all odds

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Tate Hill Born to Beat the Odds

The birth lottery is the theory that our success is dependent upon our parents and the socio-economic circumstances that we’re born into. During his first days on Earth, Tate Hill had to survive two blood transfusions. And when he survived that ordeal, his parents took him to their home in one of California’s most impoverished communities, West Fresno.

Since the moment they took Tate home, he’s had to fight against the institutional racism and financially oppressive structures built around him. It wasn’t his decision to be born into these circumstances — being Black & working class in America — but he was fortunate enough to absorb West Fresno’s greatest treasure, the spirit and pride of its residents.

Tate Hill grew up in a loving home in a strong community. Their injustices became resilient. The system’s oppression became their empowerment. From a young age, his parents taught him to always learn, take risks, and if he were to succeed, to spread his success unto others. Empowering others is how he will strengthen his community to fight against the embedded, historical injustices against his community.

Tate Hill’s parents were both teachers and entrepreneurs who thrived against all odds. Both were full-time teachers, and during the summer his father did construction and roofing in 100+ degree heat. His mother would run a daycare from his home. Watching and joining in their struggles by working alongside them helped him, later in life, connect with hard-working people from all walks of life. Everyone is fighting to make ends meet, but his community deserves the opportunity to start a business, own their homes, and send their children to college. “It shouldn’t be unaffordable to raise a child, to work like my parents did, just to survive in America,” Hill says. “The system needs to change so West Fresno’s residents have the chance to build wealth that can be passed down to their children.”

For years, the neighborhood of West Fresno didn’t have a single bank or credit union, only predatory payday lenders. This is a direct cause of historic, redlining practices. This resulted in a lack of capital and investment in the community that resulted in decades of decay. How could West Fresno’s community bring more or start new businesses into the area without credible financial institutions? While at Fresno West Coalition for Economic Development, Hill Tate partnered with the Fresno County Federal Credit Union (now Noble Credit Union) to start the West Fresno Association that allowed residents in Fresno poorest zip codes to join the credit union and get access to financial services in their neighborhoods. In the first year, more than 300 residents joined, providing them access to West Fresno’s only no-fee ATM machine and resulting in more than $300,000 in consumer loans.

This led to Tate Hill’s mission, to assist entrepreneurs with the financial capital they need to grow their business, build generational wealth, and impact their communities.

Mr. Hill is now the Executive Director of Access Plus Capital. Access Plus Capital is a mission-driven small business loan fund. The organization works to bring access to loans, business coaching, and new business network building to business owners and budding entrepreneurs who have been historically shut out of affordable business credit. Access Plus Capital has lent over 35 million dollars to businesses throughout California’s Central Valley. 67% of its business loans are to entrepreneurs of color while 65% of its loans are deployed to  entrepreneurs who want to bring businesses & jobs to lower-income neighborhoods.

Tate Hill’s goal is to address systemic financial disconnect through Access Plus Capital’s new Bridging the Financial Justice Gap Initiative targeting capital and business coaching to the region’s most underserved business populations — Black, Southeast Asian, and rural communities.

People need capital for economic mobility, community improvement & to build generational wealth. When Mr. Hill looks outside his office window, he can see his home in West Fresno. There is still a clear line separating Fresno’s financial center & West Fresno. If successful, Hill says “the next generation of children born into my zip code will not face the same lottery as I did.”

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