Why Give a Damn:
Income is only one condition of poverty, it is also a condition of choice and lack of freedom. Acumen founder, Jacqueline Novogratz, discusses the nonprofit that takes a businesslike approach to improving the lives of the poor.
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Jacqueline Novogratz founded Acumen in 2001 with one ambitious plan: to change the way the world tackles poverty. Indeed, Acumen has more in common with a venture capital fund than a typical nonprofit. Rather than handing out grants, Acumen invests in early stage companies and organizations that bring critical — often life-altering — products and services to the world’s poor. Like VCs, Acumen offers not just money, but also infrastructure and management expertise. From drip-irrigation systems in India to high quality solar lighting solutions in East Africa to a low-cost mortgage program in Pakistan, Acumen’s portfolio offers important case studies for entrepreneurial efforts aimed at the vastly underserved market of those making less than $4/day.
It’s a fascinating model that’s shaken up philanthropy and investment communities, alike. Acumen manages more than $80 million in investments aimed at serving the poor. In addition to seeking out sound business models, great importance is placed on identifying solutions from within communities rather than imposing them from the outside.
Jacqueline Novogratz founded and leads Acumen, a nonprofit that takes a businesslike approach to improving the lives of the poor. In her book “The Blue Sweater” she tells stories from the philanthropy, which emphasizes sustainable bottom-up solutions over traditional top-down aid. Novogratz is redefining the way problems of poverty can be solved around the world. Drawing on her past experience in banking, microfinance and traditional philanthropy, Novogratz has become a leading proponent for financing entrepreneurs and enterprises that can bring affordable clean water, housing and healthcare, energy, agriculture and education to poor people so that they no longer have to depend on the disappointing results and lack of accountability seen in traditional charity and old-fashioned aid.
Income is only one condition of poverty, it is also a condition of choice and lack of freedom. Tweet This Quote