Our World


Changemakers Maternal Health Competition

Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth recently announced a new competition for innovative solutions for maternal health. The Young Champions of Maternal Health Program will use the Changemakers online platform to identify 16 young leaders from around the world who will win a trip to the Maternal Health Change Summit in India and spend nine months working abroad on a maternal health project, mentored by an Ashoka Fellow. Additionally, maternal health organizations can enter to win one of three $5,000 in-kind Changemakers prizes.

Each year 536,000 women die of complications during pregnancy or childbirth – that’s around 1 death per minute. What’s astonishing is that 99% of these deaths are in developing countries. Most of the complications, such as post-partum hemorrhage, infections, eclampsia and prolonged or obstructed labor, that lead to death or severe injury can be prevented or treated with quality reproductive health services.While improving maternal health is one of the Millennium Development Goals, not enough progress has been made. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that maternal mortality has decreased at an average of less than 1% annually. The world needs more solutions.

At Acumen Fund, we’ve seen the difference that innovative business models can make in making quality reproductive care accessible to those who do not receive adequate care from the public sector and cannot afford to go to a private hospital. We’ve invested in LifeSpring Hospitals, a network of low-cost, high-quality maternal and child healthcare hospitals in India. LifeSpring’s services include prenatal and postnatal care, normal and caesarean deliveries and family planning services, at prices that are 30-50% below market rates. Since our investment, LifeSpring has grown from 1 hospital to 9 hospitals, and has provided quality, dignified care to approximately 80,000 patients.

If you have an innovative idea that has the potential to change the field of maternal health, now is the time to share it. The deadline for ideas is March 3, 2010, and winners will be announced on June 16th.


Reflections on the India Fellows Seminar

Each year, the India Fellows Program brings together up to 20 emerging leaders from different regions, sectors, and socio-economic backgrounds in India. During the fellowship year, Fellows remain in their jobs and meet every 6-8 weeks throughout the year for 4 seminars and 2 collaborative projects, each about a week long. As the India Fellows Associate, Jacqui is responsible for supporting all aspects of the program recruitment, logistics, marketing and strategic planning. Below, Jacqui reflects on the first seminar, Foundations of Leadership. You can read more about the fellowship program here[Read More]

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]