We won't succeed alone, which is why we share ideas that empower others to make change.

We are taking the very best ideas, distilled from more than a decade of investing in companies and leaders, and synthesizing and sharing them globally, so others can accelerate their impact. We know we don’t have all the answers, but hope what we share can push us to keep asking the right questions.

Explore Our Ideas

  • Close Drawer nicholas-kristof

    Investing to fight poverty

    January 6, 2009 Investing to fight poverty By NICHOLAS KRISTOF One of the most interesting innovators in aid and development... [READ MORE]

    January 6, 2009 Investing to fight poverty
    By NICHOLAS KRISTOF

    One of the most interesting innovators in aid and development is Jacqueline Novogratz, a New Yorker, the CEO of the Acumen Fund. She is, what? An aid worker? A banker? A bleeding-heart venture capitalist? A tough-minded philanthropist? All of the above? 

  • Close Drawer theguardian

    Unleashing the potential of impact investing

    November 29, 2012 The recent devastation wreaked by Hurricane Sandy acts as an acute reminder of the importance of critical... [READ MORE]

    November 29, 2012 The recent devastation wreaked by Hurricane Sandy acts as an acute reminder of the importance of critical services for daily survival – energy, water, sanitation, healthcare, housing. Yet for many of the world’s poor, the lack of such services is the prevailing norm. In the absence of public good provision, and with the conventional markets largely bypassing the poor, charities and social enterprises are playing an increasingly important role to fill this gap.

    Yet even the most innovative organisations tackling global poverty issues face tremendous funding pressure. Organisations are increasingly being asked direct and tough questions: “What will happen to this programme when our funding ends?” “If I help to grow an organisation delivering critical services, how will it be sustained in the long-term?”

     

  • Close Drawer hbr

    Want to Change the World? Be Resilient.

    February 26, 2013 What's the difference between someone with a good idea and a person who can transform their ideas into real... [READ MORE]

    February 26, 2013 What’s the difference between someone with a good idea and a person who can transform their ideas into real impact? To tackle the world’s biggest problems, we need to be able to identify and support the people who are capable of creating lasting change. At Acumen, we spend a lot of time trying to find and train aspiring and established leaders from around the world who have the right mix of talent, ideas, and passion.

    And what we’ve found time and again is: Resilience matters most.

  • Close Drawer fastcompany

    7 Tips to Landing a Job in Impact Investing

    December 5, 2012 Summer Associate Emma Vaughn writes an article in Fast Co.Exist with 7 tips to landing a job in the impact... [READ MORE]

    December 5, 2012 Summer Associate Emma Vaughn writes an article in Fast Co.Exist with 7 tips to landing a job in the impact investing sector.

  • Close Drawer Ziqitza Healthcare India

    Scaling Emergency Services Across India

    July 2010 William Davidson Institute at University of Michigan V. Srivatsan, C. Gao, R. Rho, L. Wang, J. Kickul The case... [READ MORE]

    July 2010 William Davidson Institute at University of Michigan
    V. Srivatsan, C. Gao, R. Rho, L. Wang, J. Kickul

    The case explains the idea of public-private partnerships as means for scaling and market expansion for Ziqitza Healthcare Limited.

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  • Close Drawer bluesweater

    The Blue Sweater Teaching Guide

    September 2010 This teaching guide is designed to facilitate instruction of The Blue Sweater, the bestselling book... [READ MORE]

    September 2010 This teaching guide is designed to facilitate instruction of The Blue Sweater, the bestselling book by Acumen founder and CEO, Jacqueline Novogratz, by highlighting and organizing its key themes, summarizing each chapter, and providing suggested discussion questions. It also includes supplemental readings to broaden students’ understanding of leadership and development themes beyond the book.

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  • Close Drawer az

    Market Minded Development

    January 2011 Stanford Social Innovation Review Hima Bativa, Justin Chakma, Hassan Masum, Peter Singer Almost a decade later,... [READ MORE]

    January 2011 Stanford Social Innovation Review
    Hima Bativa, Justin Chakma, Hassan Masum, Peter Singer

    Almost a decade later, Acumen’s model has garnered attention, but can it change international aid?

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  • Close Drawer brainpickings

    Live the Questions: Jacqueline Novogratz’s Advice to Graduates

    May 29, 2012 Live the Questions: Jacqueline Novogratz’s Advice to Graduates by Maria Popova “Inspiring hope in a... [READ MORE]

    May 29, 2012 Live the Questions: Jacqueline Novogratz’s Advice to Graduates
    by Maria Popova

    “Inspiring hope in a cynical world might be the most radical thing you can possibly do.”

    ‘Tis the season for exceptional graduation speeches, in which cultural icons bequeath their life’s wisdom to a new generation of, ideally, hungry-eyed thinkers and doers — icons like Neil Gaiman, David Foster Wallace, Ellen DeGeneres, Aaron Sorkin, Barack Obama, Ray Bradbury, J. K. Rowling, Steve Jobs, Robert Krulwich, Meryl Streep, and Jeff Bezos. This month, one of my big heroes, Acumen founder Jacqueline Novogratz, addressed departing Gettysburg College seniors and imparted upon them, through anecdotes from her own remarkable story, a handful of beautiful aspirations to live by, summarized below. 

  • Close Drawer wsj

    Bridging the Gap Between Charity, Business

    December 26, 2012 Impact investing is drawing more attention from philanthropists excited by the possibility that their donations... [READ MORE]

    December 26, 2012 Impact investing is drawing more attention from philanthropists excited by the possibility that their donations can both help people and support businesses with a social mission. Jacqueline Novogratz, chief executive of the Acumen Fund, speaks with Wealth Management at WSJ.com about the field, her fund and how impact investing can fit into a client’s overall giving strategy.

  • Close Drawer clinton

    Hillary Clinton mentions Acumen in major speech

    In a major speech on development, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, mentioned Acumen as an example of an innovative organization combining... [READ MORE]

    In a major speech on development, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, mentioned Acumen as an example of an innovative organization combining philanthropy and capitalism.

  • Close Drawer motherchild GEWP

    LifeSpring Hospitals Case Study

    April 2010 Columbia Business School, Gita Johar How should India's LifeSpring market its services to customers - many of... [READ MORE]

    April 2010 Columbia Business School, Gita Johar

    How should India’s LifeSpring market its services to customers – many of whom have never considered hospital maternity care?

  • Close Drawer Virtual City Agriculture East Africa 3

    Measurement in Impact Investing (B)

    July 2010 Harvard Business School Alnoor Ebrahim and V. Kasturi Rangan As Acumen moves forward with an growing investment... [READ MORE]

    July 2010 Harvard Business School
    Alnoor Ebrahim and V. Kasturi Rangan

    As Acumen moves forward with an growing investment portfolio, it runs into two critical measurement problems.

  • Close Drawer

    Innovation for the BoP

    November 2010 In this chapter from  [READ MORE]

    November 2010 In this chapter from Next Generation Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid, co-authors Robert Kennedy and Jacqueline Novogratz explain how social entrepreneurs and “philanthrocapitalists” are changing the BoP landscape by connecting innovative business approaches to “patient capital”—i.e., money that is expected to generate returns over a longer period than is typical of (say) venture capital. They identify four types of innovation that are proving critically important to success in operating in BoP markets, and show how a range of enterprises are applying these approaches in the field. The past decade has witnessed a revolution in thinking about how to address the persistent issue of poverty. Thoughtful observers in government, business, and nonprofits are moving beyond the old “markets versus development assistance” debate and are now converging on a new approach to addressing poverty.

    Click here to buy Next Generation Business Strategies for the Base of the Pyramid by Ted London and Stuart L Hart.

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  • Close Drawer missionmarginmandate

    Mission, Margin, Mandate: Three paths to scale

    September 2011 MIT's Innovations Journal - SOCAP11: Impact Investing... [READ MORE]

    September 2011 MIT’s Innovations Journal – SOCAP11: Impact Investing Special Edition by Brian Trelstad and Robert Katz

    This paper argues that there are three paths to scale for a social enterprise – mission, margin, and mandate. The strategies needed, the time frames required, the management skills, and the sources of capital differ for each path. How do social enterprises navigate mission, margin, and mandate? What lessons can we learn from organizations that have achieved scale?

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