Acumen Fund’s 10th Year
Ten years ago, Acumen Fund received its approval as a 501(c)3, after a year of dreaming about what might be.
It has been an amazing decade. In those first years, the idea of using philanthropic money to make actual investments was considered crazy by most. Today, there are a 192 registered social impact funds using a combination of philanthropic and invested capital to create change. By the end of our first year, our team could fit around a small kitchen table. Now we are spread across the world in India, Pakistan, Kenya, Tanzania, Dubai, Ghana, and San Francisco.
The reason for our being is to help create a world beyond poverty. Because of the $60 million we’ve invested in 57 companies since we started…
- More than 3 million people have access to safe, affordable, and efficient energy
- 7,000 people have jobs and hundreds of millions of insecticide treated bednets have been produced by A to Z
- More than 330,000 farmers are growing their families’ incomes with drip irrigation systems
- Hundreds of thousands have access to quality sanitation in Kenya and Ecotact has become a model for other countries
- More than 150,000 farmers have access to quality, affordable hybrid seeds in Western Kenya
- 1298 is now answering more than 30,000 emergency calls every month in India (and has created more than 1,500 jobs)
- Kashf has reached more than 300,000 borrowers with micro-loans and emerged as one of Pakistan’s most important civil society institutions
- The first commercial mortgages for the poor have been provided in Pakistan and Saiban has developed a working, sustainable model for low-income housing development
- More than 350,000 individuals have access to safe drinking water in rural India
- Aravind provides quality eyecare through telemedicine to millions across India and has served as a global model
And this is just a very partial list.
Moreover, Acumen is helping to create leaders and architects in the field of patient capital. We’ve trained and supported 44 fellows, and are seeing real role models and innovators emerge who are now working across the world. By the end of this year, we will have launched our first local fellows program in Kenya and started work on expanding to Pakistan.
Our community is fully global. More than 300 people from 22 countries have supported Acumen’s work with at least $10,000. We count 10 chapters, and more than 28,000 people who receive our updates and communications on a regular basis.
We have invested in building the sector. PULSE is a well-known measurement tool used by dozens of peer organizations. ANDE is shaping the field. GIIN is helping to create standards that everyone can understand. We have helped launch these initiatives and continue to play leadership roles with each.
The world looks different, in part, because Acumen exists, and we only exist because of the hard work, commitment and faith of our team and our community, past and present. Our team continues to believe we can make the impossible possible, and does it with a rare combination of drive and grace.
So on the occasion of our 10th Anniversary, let me salute every member of our team and board and advisory, every partner, every entrepreneur, every chapter member and volunteer (and there have been hundreds), everyone who has spent time with us sharing their knowledge to strengthen our work and everyone on whose shoulders we stand. Thank you for all you have done. The future will demand even more of us, and I have no doubt that we will meet the challenge because of everyone who has made this day possible.