Social Finance is partnering with five Colorado philanthropies and multiple training providers across the state on a pioneering Pay It Forward Fund to prepare Colorado residents for in-demand, well-paying jobs in industries including IT, cybersecurity, business development, skilled trades, and health care.
The Colorado Pay It Forward Fund provides different kinds of financing for learners, training providers, and employers. For each kind of financing, all loan repayments are recycled back into the fund to support future learners.
- Tuition and living expense loans for learners: Zero-interest, no-fee loans to cover tuition for high-quality job training or living expenses during training. After completing training, if participants earn at least $40,000/year, they or their future employers pay back their loans through low monthly repayments. If they don’t earn more than this salary threshold, they do not pay.
- Working capital loans for training providers and employers: Low- or zero-interest working capital loans enable training providers to serve more learners and generate more employer partnerships; they also allow employers to employ and retain the local talent they need to operate and scale. Generally, loan repayment is structured to occur as the training provider or employer generates added revenue.
CrossPurpose upskills Coloradans for high-growth jobs in a variety of fields, including health care, technology, and commercial truck driving. The Fund’s working capital loan will enable CrossPurpose to hire two full-time employees focused on expanding employer-paid partnerships and two full-time employees focused on expanding mental health services to students and community members. CrossPurpose will repay this working capital loan at zero-interest as these new employees generate revenue and scale for CrossPurpose to serve more people.
ActivateWork prepares Coloradans for in-demand jobs in IT that pay a living wage, ranging from IT support to DevOps to cybersecurity. The Fund will provide a line of credit to enable ActivateWork to offer its students zero-interest loans to cover their living expenses while enrolled in the program. Students who receive a living expense loan will only be required to pay back their loan if they are placed in a job earning at least $45,000/year. ActivateWork will also receive an additional grant to support their growth if they achieve strong student placement and repayment outcomes.
CareerDash prepares Coloradans for attractive careers in the fields of business development and recruiting. The Fund will provide interested learners with zero-interest outcomes-based loans to cover tuition costs associated with the training. Students who receive these outcomes-based loans will only be required to pay back their loan if they are placed in a job earning at least $45,000/year.
Partners and Supporters
- The Fund’s anchor funders include Colorado Gives Foundation, The Colorado Health Foundation, Gary Community Ventures, Walton Family Foundation, and several other generous local funders. The Colorado Equitable Economic Mobility Initiative also provided support.
- Social Finance is designing and managing the Fund, with support from Blue Meridian Partners.
- CrossPurpose, ActivateWork, and CareerDash are providing training and support to learners.
- Ascent Funding is originating zero-percent loans to learners in the CareerDash program.
- BetterOffer is a digital marketplace created by Gary Community Ventures that features Colorado Pay It Forward Fund training programs—as well as other vetted, high-quality, free programs—in one place, helping learners easily identify and enroll in different programs.
- UMB Financial Corporation is providing financial services.
- Chapman and Cutler LLP is providing legal guidance.
To learn more about investment opportunities and supporting the Fund, please reach out to Andrew Chen.
Photos courtesy of CrossPurpose, ActivateWork, and CareerDash.