Acumen Blog

Adaptive Leadership in Action: Addressing Cultural Norms & Giving Women a Voice

In the fall of 2013, +Acumen launched the course Adaptive Leadership: Mobilizing for Change in partnership with the Cambridge Leadership Associates. This course is for anyone who wants to become more effective at leading their organization through change. Below, one of the course participants shared her story about how this course impacted her work and ability to affect change. [Read More]

Making Sense of Social Impact in Action: The Value of Educating Our Youth

At Acumen, one of the most common questions we get is how we measure social impact. Our newest +Acumen course – Making Sense of Social Impact: Acumen’s Building Blocks for Impact Analysis. – will provide an entry point for how to think about impact and we’ll share frameworks that help us define what to measure and why. Makoto Matsuura, founder of cobon a not-for-profit focused on youth education in Jakarta, Indonesia and Osaka, Japan, took a pilot version of this course and shared his reflections with us. [Read More]

Good news for philanthropists in the U.K. and Europe

We are excited to announce that Acumen now holds a CAF Charitable Trust in the United Kingdom. CAF, the Charities Aid Foundation, is a registered U.K. charity. By donating to Acumen through CAF, you can use Gift Aid if the amount of Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax you’ve paid for the tax year in which you make your donation is at least equal to the amount of basic rate tax  [the charity or Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) and any other charities or CASCs] you donate to will reclaim on your gift. CAF will reclaim 25% Gift Aid from HM Revenue & Customs and pass this through to Acumen.  The donor can claim higher rate tax relief (for more information, please refer to CAF’s online resource, What Is Gift Aid?). [Read More]

d.light Leaders Named 2014 Social Entrepreneurs of the Year

We are thrilled for our portfolio company d.light and Donn Tice, Chairman and CEO, along with cofounders Ned Tozun, President, and Sam Goldman, Chief Customer Officer, for being named Social Entrepreneurs of the year 2014 by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. d.light is a for-profit social enterprise that manufactures and distributes solar lighting and power products with primary markets in the developing world, today announced that d.light, along with 37 other individuals and organizations in the 2014 class, will be fully integrated into the events and initiatives of the World Economic Forum. [Read More]

Announcing a New Investment: Mekelle Farms

Acumen is pleased to announce an investment in AGFlow Ventures, the majority owner of Mekelle Farms, Ethiopia’s largest producer of day-old chicks. Mekelle Farms was established in 2010 to produce productive and disease-resistant chicks for smallholder farmers across Ethiopia. This investment is Acumen’s first in Ethiopia, a country of great potential with a population of over 90 million and GDP growth of  over 7% during the past 5 years, according to the World Bank.Other investors in Mekelle Farms include the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund, headquartered in Nairobi and backed by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and Arabica Investments operating out of Dubai, UAE and focused on Ethiopia; Flow Equity, a U.S.-based venture development company, and Zemen Bank, a leading commercial bank in Ethiopia.. [Read More]

Good Society: The Acumen Fellowship Reading List

We have recently announced the 2014 classes of PakistanEast Africa, and India Fellows, and are currently selecting participants for the 2015 Global Fellows Program. One of the key aspects of being an Acumen Fellow is the training program we have developed over the years. Constantly evolving over time, one of the core elements of the training is a seminar called Good Society. Fellows spend time reading and discussing the theories of great thinkers, such as Plato, King, and Mandela on how to create a ‘good’ society. Based on the work of the Aspen Institute, the sessions seek to provide Acumen Fellows with the chance to think broadly about the historical and moral traditions of social change work. [Read More]

Announcing the East Africa Fellows Class of 2014

Acumen is proud to announce the selection of our third cohort of East Africa Fellows. After a competitive selection process, we’ve chosen are a diverse group of 22 inspiring individuals who are fighting poverty and changing lives of people all over East Africa. Each Fellow is driving an innovative social change initiative addressing a variety of development issues, such as using mobile technology to support smallholder farmers, increasing access to financial services for Muslim women in Kenya, empowering urban refugees in Tanzania, and working with the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs of South Sudan. See below for photos and bios of everyone in the incoming class of East Africa Fellows: [Read More]