Press Releases


DIGNITY Boston – an exciting launch for BOSTON+acumen

+acumen chapters – self-organized, volunteer-led groups in cities and schools around the world – are actively supporting Acumen Fund’s mission to create a world beyond poverty through education, fundraising and service.  To start a +acumen chapter in your city, contact Jo-Ann Tan at You can learn more about +acumen chapters on our website.


The BOSTON+acumen chapter, led by a small group of volunteers from the business and nonprofit worlds, slowly started taking shape last June 2011. With a mission to inspire and empower like-minded individuals in the greater Boston area who are passionate about supporting Acumen Fund’s mission, the chapter held a series of educational sessions and social events including a Generosity Day event with Catchafire.

On March 3rd 2012, BOSTON+acumen created a new realm of possibilities and exposure. The DIGNITY Boston photo event held inside a vibrant coffee shop/art gallery, Voltage Coffee,  in Kendall Square gathered over a hundred energetic people and raised over $31,000 (including a generous $25,000 contribution from General Electric Corporate Leadership Staff). DIGNITY events are one-night photo auctions and sales organized by +acumen chapters in partnership with Nuru Project, featuring prints portraying the idea of dignity from the regions where Acumen Fund invests.

Talks were shared by Jo Ann Tan, lead architect of +acumen chapters, and Noelle Foot from Root Capital, a Cambridge-based social investment firm, on promoting development through dignity and empowering individuals like small scale farmers in war-torn northern Uganda, or rural Indians without access to electricity.

We left the event with a strong desire to cultivate this community of like-minded individuals who connect with market-based approaches to solving poverty. We are now officially a part of the 15 +acumen chapter network around the world who are changing the way world tackles poverty (read more about this network of chapters here).

BOSTON+acumen’s next goal is to recruit a group of energetic, creative, fun people who are passionate about Acumen Fund to help us expand our chapter through dedicated leadership. Our Leadership Team applications are actually due TODAY!

Apply here if you are interested in supporting the growth of BOSTON+acumen and spreading the idea of patient capital and Acumen Fund’s values in the greater Boston area.

Elly Brown is a Project Consultant at Root Cause, a staff writer for NextBillion, and part of the leadership team for BOSTON+acumen. Visit BOSTON+acumen’s website, contact them via email , and follow them on Twitter @BOSplusacumen


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]


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]

Give Impact Investing Time and Space to Develop

Impact investing has captured the world’s imagination. Just six years after the Rockefeller Foundation coined the term, the sector is booming. An estimated 250 funds are actively raising capital in a market that the Global Impact Investing Network estimates at $25 billion. Giving Pledge members described impact investing as the “hottest topic” at their May 2012 meeting, and Prime Minister David Cameron extolled the potential of the sector at the most recent G8 summit.  Sir Ronald Cohen and HBS Professor William A. Sahlman describe impact investing as the new venture capital, implying that it will, in the next 5 to 10 years, make its way into mainstream financial portfolios, unlocking billions or trillions of dollars in new capital. [Read More]

10 Books We’re Reading This Summer

What are you reading? It is a common question here at Acumen, an organization full of avid readers constantly trading favorite book titles that discuss leadership, impact, development and branding. Here are 10 stellar books we’re reading this summer. These books and others provide a framework of thinking, a spark of new ideas, a platform for debate. So, what are you reading? [Read More]

How Acumen Brought Back my Fire

Eda is an East Africa Regional Fellow from Nairobi, Kenya and is the Founder and Director of Halisi Trust, an organization that seeks to challenge the vices that plague society and encourage transformational development in Kenya’s youth. When Eda applied for the East Africa Fellows Program, she felt disillusioned and stuck. Below, Eda discusses how Acumen’s Regional Fellowship Program brought back her fire. Now, Eda has engaged nearly 6,000 people through outreach events and the Mkenya Halisi movement continues to grow. Acumen is currently accepting applications for the next class of East Africa Fellows. APPLY TODAY! [Read More]

Imagining the world as it could be

Christine Gitau is an East Africa Fellow and an enterprise coach at Craft Afrika, which provides business support services to craft entrepreneurs, enabling them build viable and thriving businesses in Kenya. At Acumen we often use the term “Moral Imagination” when talking about leadership. Christine wrote a reflection on how this concept has shifted her thinking. We could not be more proud of what she is building! [Read More]

How two Acumen Fellows are disrupting the education model in India

Whether its running youth soccer programs, providing vocational training services, or transforming the education system in India, Acumen India Fellows are driving real change in their communities.  Abbas Dadla and Abhilasha Sinha are India Fellows who are addressing the teacher shortage in India through the use of technology and peer collaboration. Find out what they are building below.  If you have grit, resilience and a commitment to creating change in your community in India, East Africa or Pakistan, we encourage you to apply for the Regional Fellowship Program! [Read More]