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These Times

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Last Monday, we watched a 9-minute video of George Floyd dying as a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck. This tragedy occurred in the midst of a global pandemic and too many other soul-deadening incidences of injustice and inequality tied not to a person’s character, but to the color of his or her skin.

The next generation is on the streets alongside preceding generations that have experienced lifetimes of delay, asking all of us to do better. They are demanding that we dare to reimagine and rebuild the broken systems that are serving the few, not the many. Acumen agrees.

Our team commits to starting with ourselves, examining where and how we can do better. Since 2015, Acumen America has been investing in companies that take on the systemic issues of poverty within healthcare, financial inclusion and workforce development. To work on poverty in America requires confronting head-on the wounds and barriers of racism. The underlying systems that perpetuate poverty and inequality in America are interwoven with the causes of racial injustice. This moment challenges us to go deeper, to push harder, and to examine how we can better serve black and brown communities, nurture and support entrepreneurs, and strengthen Acumen Academy’s tools and resources for social change.

We are fortunate to be part of a global community. Acumen’s experience has taught us firsthand how many nations carry deep wounds of division across lines of difference. The trifecta of a global pandemic, 40 million Americans without jobs and protests across our cities should convince all of us of the need for a new humility. America has much to learn from other nations that have confronted their histories and emerged stronger. We will share these stories, both in this nation and abroad, to reinforce how possible it is to build new systems and structures that include all of us.

Acumen’s work has focused on building solutions to poverty. We have gained tools and skills that help solve our material poverty. But this moment is a clarion call to focus on our poverty of spirit—of dignity.

Change is the domain of all of us and at Acumen we believe that starts with changing ourselves.

Jacqueline Novogratz
CEO, Acumen