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


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]

Congratulations to the 2016 Pakistan Fellows!

Last month, Acumen held a celebration ceremony for the Pakistan Fellows Class of 2016 to commemorate the completion of the cohort’s first year as Acumen Fellows. Keynoted by Acumen President, Carlyle Singer, the event brought together Acumen community members from across Pakistan and showcased the leadership journeys of these 21 dynamic social change-makers. [Read More]