Locavesting | November 2, 2023

Colorado foundations back Social Finance’s fund to upskill local workers

Roodgally Senatus
ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, November 2 — Gary Community Ventures and the Colorado Health, Colorado Gives and Walton Family foundations and other local backers have committed $8 million to a new Pay It Forward Fund in Colorado.

The Social Finance-managed fund aims to remove the financial barriers for Coloradans from low-income and minority neighborhoods to get training for higher-paying and high-growth jobs. That includes IT, health care and skilled trade jobs that don’t typically require college degrees.

“In the past, the student had to assume 100% of the risk of their education upfront, regardless of the post-education employment outcome,” said Ben Bynum of the Colorado Health Foundation. The fund offers zero-interest loans for workers to enroll in training or cover living expenses during training. It uses an income-based repayment model to recycle capital back into the fund, or ‘pay it forward’ for training future workers. 

Inclusive economy

The Colorado Pay It Forward Fund has deployed zero-interest working capital loans to three training providers, CrossPurpose, ActivateWork and CareerDash, to train more than 1,000 Coloradans. CrossPurpose trains workers for health care, tech and commercial trucking driving jobs; ActivateWork trains workers for IT jobs; and CareerDash trains workers for business development and recruiting jobs.

The fund aims to “provide a pipeline of skilled talent to Colorado employers and accelerate the state’s economic growth,” said Michael Grossman of Social Finance.