Press Releases

DotOrg-Africa-Dec2006 160

Acumen Fund’s 10th Year

Dear all,

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.

Congratulations, all,

Jacqueline Novogratz

Comments

Letter from Jacqueline: My Week in Ghana

I am writing on a return flight from Ghana. The country has not seen a single case of Ebola, yet the impact of fear is profound. As travelers enter the country, attendants screen for high temperatures. Hand sanitizer dispensers are omnipresent. Hotels and conferences have seen massive cancellations. Everywhere are constant reminders of our fragility and the strength of our connectedness. [Read More]

Six online courses we’re taking this year

+Acumen’s free online courses are a great way to learn tools that will help you develop both professionally and personally. Whether you are a social entrepreneur who wants to market to your customers or a young professional that wants to strengthen your leadership skills, we are offering six courses this Fall that will help you develop the tools, knowledge, and networks to change the way the world tackles poverty. [Read More]

Four Emerging Leaders Building the Future of Pakistan

With 60% of Pakistan’s population living under less than a dollar a day, the external narrative of Pakistan is characterised by what the country lacks; a lack of security, a lack of women’s rights, a lack of access to education, and the list goes on. What this narrative ignores are the individuals who work tirelessly to plug those gaps. From human rights to education to food security, Acumen Pakistan Fellows are affecting change through organizations committed to tackling poverty. Their work is truly inspiring, promising a hopeful future for Pakistan. Here are four fellows that are building this future for Pakistan and come together periodically to share learning experiences and grow as leaders. Through five seminars, the fellows have strengthened skills of adaptability, communication, empathy and problem solving through listening. If you are committed to creating change in your community, apply now to be an Acumen Pakistan Fellow. The deadline is 29 September. [Read More]

Acumen Partners with AlphaSights to Better Access Global Expertise

In our work investing in social enterprises that deliver critical goods to the poor, there is a substantial amount of work to evaluate each investment opportunity. A critical part of the diligence process, particularly when it comes to emerging markets, is speaking with industry experts who can provide reliable information about sector trends, market dynamics and public policy – all of which affect our evaluation of potential investment opportunities. [Read More]

DE-BUNKING THE BURDEN MYTH: IMPACT DATA GOES LEAN

Our manifesto begins, “it starts by standing with the poor.” Yet for good reasons, the sector has found it challenging to measure which customers are actually being served through social impact investments – getting accurate data on incomes is notoriously difficult and the logistical challenge and cost of conducting surveys in person prohibitive. [Read More]

Questions for Aspiring Leaders

Bavidra Mohan, Acumen’s India Fellows Manager, attended this years Aspen IDEAS festival as a Scholar. The Scholarship program was established to invite guests from around the world to bring a diverse set of experiences, voices and perspectives to the rich conversations that take place at the IDEAS festival each year. [Read More]