Our Team


Generosity Day

Let’s turn Valentine’s Day into Generosity Day.  Let’s spend today saying YES to everything: to anyone who asks for help in any way.  Let’s seek out opportunities to be as open and generous as we can be, because today is supposed to be about love – not just romantic love, but love for everyone.  And what better way to express love than through acts of generosity?

About a year ago, I conducted a month-long generosity experiment (here’s the original blog post, and here’s the video).  It started because, on a cold December day, rushing home on the subway, I passed a homeless person on the street asking for money.  As usual, I walked by, head buried in my iPhone, and didn’t give him any money.   I knew I’d made a mistake, that my gut response was to say “No,” and this was keeping me from being the open, generous person that I want to be.

The next day I announced that I’d spend the month of December saying YES to everyone who asked me for money (whether a homeless person, a street musician, a nonprofit,….).  I found it transformational.

My goal is to turn Valentine’s Day (today!) into Generosity Day, by having people spend today saying YES to everything.  But I can only pull this off with your help.

If your IN, here’s what you’ll do.

1.  Spend the whole day saying YES to everything and being as generous as you can be.  For example:

  • Give money to anyone who asks: that street musician you typically walk by; a homeless person; your favorite charity…not because they asked.
  • Take old clothes from your closet and give them to goodwill
  • Leave a $5 tip for a $2 coffee
  • Introduce yourself to someone you see every day but have never said hello to
  • Bring in lunch for your co-workers
  • Give someone a complement
  • Take a $7 taxi ride, give the driver a $20, and say “keep the change.”

2.  Share updates on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, wherever makes sense for you.  If using Facebook or Twitter, please use the hashtag #generosityday to spread the word.  Here’s a sample tweet:

  • I just left a $5 tip on a $2 coffee, because Valentine’s Day should be about generosity. http://bit.ly/generosityday #generosityday

3.       Affirmative comments and stories on this blog post are also welcome!

I can seed this idea, but only you can make it happen.  Let’s do it, together!

Sasha Dichter is Director of Business Development at Acumen Fund. Check out his blog where he writes on generosity, philanthropy and social change.

Check out Generosity Day’s write up in Fast Company and add yourself to our Facebook Fan Page!


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]