Acumen Blog


Social Entrepreneurs Stand Up to White House in Defense of Muslim Rights

Yesterday, more than 170 global heads of social entrepreneurship organizations, including Acumen’s Founder and CEO, Jacqueline Novogratz, signed a letter denouncing President Trump’s recent Executive Order banning individuals from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The seven countries included in the ban are Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia.

The letter, which emphasizes inclusiveness as a guiding principle to building global prosperity for the world’s poor, states: “We respectfully request, Mr. President, that you do not deny us the right of welcoming people, regardless of their religion or nationality, to our shores. We must continue to communicate the values of inclusiveness and opportunity for all.”

Set in motion by Room to Read’s Founder John Wood, the letter was inspired by an amicus brief filled by executives in Silicon Valley who argued that the ban would limit their ability to recruit and hire diverse global talent.

Among the co-signers of the letter are leading social entrepreneurs and NGO heads Premal Shah (Kiva), Gary White (, Sally Osberg (Skoll Foundation), and Jeff Skoll (The Jeff Skoll Group).

Immediately following Trump’s action on January 27, travelers from the seven countries were detained at airports across the United States, sparking nationwide protests in opposition to the order. On February 4, a Seattle judge issued a temporary restraining order of the ban, postponing its enforcement nationwide.

Our work to build a world based on dignity depends on our ability to stand for and defend values based on inclusivity and generosity. It means welcoming others fleeing persecution with open arms. It means protecting the rights of a parent to pursue a better life for their child. It means emphasizing the value of diversity within our organization and working intimately with the populations that we serve.

At Acumen, we also believe that one of basic tenets of dignity is freedom—freedom to pursue opportunities and ideas, and freedom to make choices for oneself in pursuit of a better life. Unless we commit as a world to protecting basic human rights for all, not just for some, we risk leaving the poorest and most marginalized among us behind.

Photo Credit: Geoff Livingston


A Cleaner Path: Solar Energy’s Impact on Health

Imagine for a moment that the light used in your home was a poison. One that could damage your lungs, irritate your eyes, even impact the health of your unborn child. You’d think twice about flicking on that switch. Kerosene lamps—used by an estimated 290 million people across Africa—contribute to household air pollution. Such pollution is responsible for more deaths a year than tuberculosis, malaria and HIV combined. [Read More]

Acumen Hosts Workshop on Building High-Impact Partnerships at Skoll World Forum

Acumen, with support from EY, Sainsbury’s, Pfizer, and the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, is hosting their second Beyond Dialogue workshop today as a part of the Skoll World Forum. The event, Beyond Dialogue: Three Models for High Impact Collaboration, will bring together leading global corporations, innovative social enterprises, experts and intermediaries to work together to uncover new knowledge and opportunities to partner. [Read More]

Day 2 Recap: AcumenGG17

As morning broke on Day Two, the grounds of the Great Rift Valley Lodge & Resort were dotted with Good Society groups. Cohorts joined together, bringing a diversity of perspectives, for revelatory, at times tough, but ultimately enriching discussions built around Ursula Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” and Yunus Emre’s “The Drop That Became the Sea.” [Read More]

Day 1 Recap: AcumenGG17

It only seemed fitting that the Global Gathering kicked off with the vibrant colors and electric rhythms of East Africa. Adorned in Maasai cloths, the East Africa Fellows—with some help from the Global Fellows—set the tone for a day of nonstop energy and inspiring conversation. [Read More]

What Women Can Do

In these uncertain times, when progress towards a more just world sometimes seems to be slowing, or even reversing its course, I often ask myself the question, what can I do? It’s easy to feel small or isolated in the face of so many challenges, many of which seem to have escalated over the past few months. [Read More]

Lighting the Way: A Look at Solar Energy’s Impact on Poverty Alleviation

In the last decade, solar lanterns have emerged as a clean, cost-effective solution to provide access to modern energy to the 1.2 billion people currently living off-grid. These small, portable and rechargeable lights fulfill an immediate need for the poor and, as a result, have become increasingly widespread in countries across Africa, South Asia and beyond. They are affordable, easy to use and require little maintenance. And for families who’ve become accustomed to life stopping when the sun sets, a solar lantern can mean hours of light to enjoy dinner together, do homework for class tomorrow, or keep a business open a little later. [Read More]