Acumen (organization)

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Non-profit organization
Founded April 2001
Founder Jacqueline Novogratz

Acumen (formerly known as Acumen Fund[1]) is a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of poverty.[2] Its aim is to help build financially sustainable organizations that deliver affordable goods and services that improve the lives of the poor. Acumen is a 501(c)(3) organization headquartered in New York City, with regional offices in India, Pakistan, Kenya, Colombia, San Francisco, and Ghana.[3]


Acumen was incorporated on April 1, 2001, with seed capital from the Rockefeller Foundation, Cisco Systems Foundation and three individual philanthropists. Acumen’s investors and advisors include also the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Skoll Foundation.[4] Jacqueline Novogratz is the founder and CEO of Acumen.[5]


Acumen uses patient capital to build businesses. It makes investments – loans or equity, not grants – that yield both financial and social returns. As of July 10, 2014, Acumen has invested more than $110 million in 102 companies in Africa, Pakistan, India, Latin America, and the United States.[6] Investments are focused on the following sectors: Health, Energy, Agriculture, Financial Inclusion, and Education. Acumen commitments range from $300,000 to $2,000,000 in equity or debt with a payback or exit in roughly seven to ten years.[7][8]

Fellows Programs[edit]

Acumen currently runs Regional Fellows Programs in East Africa, Pakistan and India. This is a one-year fellowship program targeted at local leaders and entrepreneurs who manage an existing social change project in their region.[9] Amal Academy, an organizational development academy, is funded by Acumen.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ A Manifesto. Acumen. Retrieved on 2013-09-21.
  2. ^ "A Most Meaningful Gift Idea". New York Times. December 23, 2009. 
  3. ^ Fund Expands into West Africa. Acumen. Retrieved on 2013-09-21.
  4. ^ Partners in venture philanthropy | Acumen Archived July 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on 2013-09-21.
  5. ^ Jacqueline Novogratz: Invest in Africa's own solutions | Video on. Retrieved on 2013-09-21.
  6. ^ Acumen Investments Have Impacted Over 100 Million Lives Archived July 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on 2013-09-21.
  7. ^ Investments Archived July 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ "Making a difference with patient capital in energy, healthcare". Mint (newspaper), Wall Street Journal. Nov 3, 2009. 
  9. ^ Acumen Regional Fellows Tackle the Most Pressing Social Issues. Retrieved on 2013-09-21.

External links[edit]