New Dowagiac Chamber event coordinator ready to listen, learn

Published 5:02 pm Tuesday, April 5, 2022

DOWAGIAC – Matt Money may have been dragged kicking and screaming from South Bend six years ago, but Dowagiac has grown on him – and now he is ready to listen, learn and eventually lead from a new position in the city. 

Money was recently announced as the new marketing and events coordinator for the Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce, and he said he is already looking forward to making a difference in the community. 

“I value the small-town pride,” said Money, a South Bend native who is transitioning from his role as assistant director of operations at the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. “One thing I have missed since I left South Bend is I was really involved in the community there, and I’ve missed that here in Dowagiac.”

Money is a founding member of the Young Professionals Against Poverty in South Bend, developing and serving as director of On the River Festival for its eight-year run. The festival raised more than $900,000 for the Center for the Homeless, according to Money.

“This two-day event changed the landscape of South Bend with live entertainment, volleyball tournament, children’s activities, great food and beverages and a teen battle of the bands,” Money said.  “Everyone and all ages could enjoy our hard work and dedication.”

For the past 10 years, Money said he also managed the School of Architecture’s events all over the world – experience he will bring to his role for the Dowagiac Chamber once he gets his feet wet. 

“This first year will be a focus on learning more about the Chamber, the events and getting to know the business members,” Money said. “Listening and learning will be my focus the first year.  We live in an amazing community and the opportunities are endless.”

Money said he has already been learning from his predecessor, Vickie Phillipson. 

“Vickie has opened up her door,” Money said. “Anytime I need something, she’s happy to help.”

At the most recent Chamber After Hours event, Chamber President Kris Soenen introduced Money to Chamber members in attendance. 

“I was a little nervous, because it’s the first coming out party,” Money said. “Everyone’s coming in and introducing themselves, telling me their story, which is nice. … Everyone is welcoming in this community.”

When the coordinator position came open, Money said he saw it as the right opportunity to make a change and spend more time with his wife – who is from Dowagiac – and his two young sons.

“I was like ‘this is perfect for me,’” he said. “I can be involved, I can get to learn more about the city, I can raise our family here. I don’t have to go back to Notre Dame to that 9 to 5 at a desk. I can be a bit more flexible.”

As for what the word community means to him, Money said it is about being in an area you enjoy and love – with people you love. 

“You make your own community, and it is up to you to leave a legacy and make a difference,” he said. “I actually came to Dowagiac kicking and screaming because I didn’t want to leave South Bend, but actually it’s been great. … I plan and hope to have a positive impact here in Dowagiac, not only for the community, but because it is where I have chosen to raise my family.”