Acumen | Financial Overview -

Financials

Acumen Financial Overview

We report our statement of activities as a nonprofit, reflecting contributed revenues and expenses – program and administrative – each year. Unlike most charities, however, we invest a substantial portion of our assets in entrepreneurial businesses that serve the poor. These investments, conceptually equivalent to the grants made by other nonprofits, stay on our balance sheet and are not reflected as part of our program expenses on our statement of activities.

  • Operating Results

    In 2020, Acumen raised $25.0 million in philanthropic capital, a decrease of 6.3% from 2019, in line with expectations given the global COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $25.0 million, $6.0 million represents funds raised for COVID-19 relief support in the form of grants and loans. Acumen recognized non-cash revenue of $4.4 million for donated strategy consulting and donated legal services, both primarily to support our investing work.

    We received $2.4 million in interest and dividend income from portfolio loans and recorded a loss provision of $1.9 million for portfolio investment losses. Acumen carries its program investments at cost, and we lower these valuations when impairment exists. We review our portfolio of assets on an annual basis and apply a consistent valuation philosophy across the companies in our portfolio. We carry most all of these investments at cost less an estimate for impairment, plus or minus changes resulting from observable price changes in orderly transactions for an identical or a similar investment of the same issuer. In prior years these investments were carried at cost, less an estimate for impairment. The change in 2020 as it relates to changes in value due to orderly transactions was a result of a new accounting standard we adopted in 2020. Certain partnership equity investments are recorded at fair value if that value is readily available. Any increase in value of equity investments would be recognized as unrealized gains if the change in value relates to price changes in orderly transactions of a similar or identical investment or realized gains or profits upon exit.

    Operating expenses represent all the direct costs related to the running of Acumen’s programs, management and general costs, and fundraising costs. They do not include any of our investments in our portfolio companies (which are reflected as assets on the Statement of Financial Position). Total expenses for 2020 were $33.2 million, a 15.4% increase compared to the prior year. Donated services totaled $4.4 million. While we saw significant savings from travel and events during 2020 as a result of pandemic restrictions, our overall spending increased primarily due to COVID-19 relief grants disbursed ($4.0M) and in-kind strategy consulting services ($1.6M).

    Program work constituted 84.3% of our total expenses. Portfolio expenses were $17.3 million, representing the cost of sourcing, due diligence, planning and the deployment of $13.8 million in new and follow-on investments, as well as managing our active portfolio of 101 companies. Outreach, Impact and Communications expenses were $3.6 million, representing our work in measuring and reporting our investment performance (both financial and non-financial), and in the research and sharing of our insights gleaned from our programmatic work. Our Leadership program spend increased by 15% in 2020 with expenses of $7.1 million ($1.9 million of this increase was related to COVID-19 relief grants disbursed to Academy Fellows’ social enterprises). Fundraising costs and Management and General expenses accounted for $5.2 million, which included investments in improving organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Statement of Financial Position

    Acumen’s total assets were $153 million as of December 31, 2020. Acumen’s assets are split primarily between Operating Assets ($71.6 million) and Portfolio Assets ($81.4 million). The largest component of our Operating Asset base is our cash balance of $56.4 million, of which $24.1 million (46.8%) was restricted and designated for specific programmatic uses or for use as investment capital.

    Liabilities at the end of 2020 totaled $7.9 million; this number includes returnable grant capital and a Paycheck Protection Program loan that Acumen intends to apply for forgiveness in 2021. Net assets remained stable with only a 1.3% increase from the prior year. Net Assets at the end of the year were $145.2 million compared to $143.2 million at the end of 2019.

In 2020, Acumen raised $25.0 million in philanthropic capital, a decrease of 6.3% from 2019, in line with expectations given the global COVID-19 pandemic. Of the $25.0 million, $6.0 million represents funds raised for COVID-19 relief support in the form of grants and loans. Acumen recognized non-cash revenue of $4.4 million for donated strategy consulting and donated legal services, both primarily to support our investing work.

We received $2.4 million in interest and dividend income from portfolio loans and recorded a loss provision of $1.9 million for portfolio investment losses. Acumen carries its program investments at cost, and we lower these valuations when impairment exists. We review our portfolio of assets on an annual basis and apply a consistent valuation philosophy across the companies in our portfolio. We carry most all of these investments at cost less an estimate for impairment, plus or minus changes resulting from observable price changes in orderly transactions for an identical or a similar investment of the same issuer. In prior years these investments were carried at cost, less an estimate for impairment. The change in 2020 as it relates to changes in value due to orderly transactions was a result of a new accounting standard we adopted in 2020. Certain partnership equity investments are recorded at fair value if that value is readily available. Any increase in value of equity investments would be recognized as unrealized gains if the change in value relates to price changes in orderly transactions of a similar or identical investment or realized gains or profits upon exit.

Operating expenses represent all the direct costs related to the running of Acumen’s programs, management and general costs, and fundraising costs. They do not include any of our investments in our portfolio companies (which are reflected as assets on the Statement of Financial Position). Total expenses for 2020 were $33.2 million, a 15.4% increase compared to the prior year. Donated services totaled $4.4 million. While we saw significant savings from travel and events during 2020 as a result of pandemic restrictions, our overall spending increased primarily due to COVID-19 relief grants disbursed ($4.0M) and in-kind strategy consulting services ($1.6M).

Program work constituted 84.3% of our total expenses. Portfolio expenses were $17.3 million, representing the cost of sourcing, due diligence, planning and the deployment of $13.8 million in new and follow-on investments, as well as managing our active portfolio of 101 companies. Outreach, Impact and Communications expenses were $3.6 million, representing our work in measuring and reporting our investment performance (both financial and non-financial), and in the research and sharing of our insights gleaned from our programmatic work. Our Leadership program spend increased by 15% in 2020 with expenses of $7.1 million ($1.9 million of this increase was related to COVID-19 relief grants disbursed to Academy Fellows’ social enterprises). Fundraising costs and Management and General expenses accounted for $5.2 million, which included investments in improving organizational efficiency and effectiveness.

Acumen’s total assets were $153 million as of December 31, 2020. Acumen’s assets are split primarily between Operating Assets ($71.6 million) and Portfolio Assets ($81.4 million). The largest component of our Operating Asset base is our cash balance of $56.4 million, of which $24.1 million (46.8%) was restricted and designated for specific programmatic uses or for use as investment capital.

Liabilities at the end of 2020 totaled $7.9 million; this number includes returnable grant capital and a Paycheck Protection Program loan that Acumen intends to apply for forgiveness in 2021. Net assets remained stable with only a 1.3% increase from the prior year. Net Assets at the end of the year were $145.2 million compared to $143.2 million at the end of 2019.

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