Our World


Skoll World Forum: The Skoll Awards

The Skoll World Forum always culminates in the granting of the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship on Thursday evening. I came late, so I headed to the upper level, where broad wooden steps were vastly more accommodating than the benches downstairs.

Among this year’s award winners was Jordan Kassalow of VisionSpring, a social venture that Acumen Fund has supported since 2005. Jordan is truly a visionary, pioneering social franchising in India, wholesale partnerships with established organizations in Latin America, South Asia and Africa, and a lean supply chain to India. He is a new global capitalist, combining his business skills with his training as an eye doctor to reach the 400 million people in the world who suffer from being near sighted. The story that he told of when he restored vision to an older woman in Mexico, who had come to him clutching her bible wanting to some day read it again, brought tears to my and many other people’s eyes.

There were too many other memorable moments, including a stunning Jordanian women Soraya Salti, who is bringing business education to young people throughout the Middle East and a pair of human rights activists, Juan Mendez and Paul van Zyl, who have put their lives on the lines for the rights of the oppressed in their home countries, Argentina and South Africa, respectively, and 30 other countries transitioning from conflict to reconciliation.

But to prove Acumen Fund Sustaining Partner Donald Rubin’s point that you need both bread and roses (although it is hard to think of the Skoll Awardees as mere bread), the art stole the evening. KT Tunstall’s stunning voice and innovative rhythmic style lifted everyone’s spirits to join the angels on the ceiling of the theater.


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]