CDFI Small Business Job Quality Demonstration Project

*** We have extended the deadline to April 29th! ***

Decades of stagnant real wages, eroding benefits, and declining employment security mean that too many jobs do not provide an opportunity to achieve an economically stable life and pursue economic advancement. Low-quality jobs are disproportionately held by women, people of color, and immigrants. Most low-wage workers work at small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), including micro-businesses. However, we know financial intermediaries play a critical role and are well-positioned to reach SMBs with the support needed to address barriers to job quality.

To improve job quality for low-wage, BIPOC workers, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) has invested in a multi-year demonstration project that is intended to scale job quality improvements among US small businesses. The CDFI Small Business Job Quality Demonstration Project will be managed by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) with project partners Pacific Community Ventures (PCV), an intermediary CDFI focused on job quality, and U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC).

Participating CDFIs will offer advisory services aimed at improving job quality to their small business clients. Selected CDFIs will receive:

  • grant funding in the amount of $100,000 per year for three years to support their job quality efforts;
  • access to additional grant funding of approximately $45,000 per year for three years to provide direct financial incentives to the small businesses they engage in job quality efforts;
  • support from EOP and Pacific Community Ventures (PCV) in integrating job quality advising into their small business services;
  • the opportunity to refer their small business customers to PCV’s free business advising services via, which incorporate use of PCV’s Good Jobs, Good Business resources; and
  • the opportunity to participate in a learning community with peers.

In addition, participating CDFIs will also have the opportunity to apply for capital investments in the form of low-cost debt to support their small business lending from USBCDC. As part of their engagement in the demonstration, CDFIs will participate in an evaluation of the demonstration that will include periodic peer learning events and other opportunities to share experiences and lessons with other selected CDFIs.

The Request for Proposals seeks to identify CDFIs actively engaged in ongoing development or expansion of small business financing that are interested in adding new services or expanding their efforts to provide job quality supports to SMBs. In addition, we are looking for organizations that have a commitment to improving the economic mobility of BIPOC, low-wage individuals and their communities.


Request for Proposals

Interested CDFIs should submit a proposal online.

Apply Now

Please note that the deadline for submitting an application is April 29, 2022.

Would you like to learn more? Click below to watch the informational webinar where our team and project partners provide additional information and address questions from interested CDFIs.

View the Presentation Slides

For additional questions, email us at