Jacqueline Novogratz

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Jacqueline Novogratz
Jacqueline Novogratz-CEO-Acumen.JPG
Jacqueline Novogratz
ResidenceWest Village, New York, US
Alma materUniversity of Virginia
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Known forFounder and CEO, Acumen
Home townHighland Falls, New York, US
Spouse(s)Chris Anderson
Children3 step-daughters
RelativesMichael Novogratz (brother)
Robert Novogratz (brother)

Jacqueline Novogratz is an American entrepreneur and author. She is the founder and CEO of Acumen, a non-profit global venture capital fund whose goal is to use entrepreneurial approaches to address global poverty.[1]

Early life[edit]

Jacqueline Novogratz was born in the US, the eldest of seven children, and went to a Catholic school in Highland Falls, New York.[2] Her father was a major in the U.S. Army, and her mother, Barbara, ran an antiques business.[3]

She earned a bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia where she studied economics and international relations,[2] and an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.[2]


Novogratz started her career at Chase Manhattan Bank in 1983,[2] as an international credit analyst. After three years, she left banking to explore how to make a bigger difference in the world. This led her to work throughout Africa as a consultant for the World Bank and for UNICEF. As a UNICEF consultant in Rwanda in the late 1980s, she helped found Duterimbere, Rwanda’s first microfinance institution. Novogratz also founded and directed The Philanthropy Workshop and The Next Generation Leadership programs at the Rockefeller Foundation before starting Acumen in 2001. Under Novogratz's leadership, Acumen has grown to serve 125 million people a year through its investments of patient capital in businesses that provide low-income people with critical goods and services. She also oversaw the creation of Acumen's year-long Fellowship program that aims to build the next generation of leadership for the social sector.[4]

Novogratz serves on the advisory boards of Stanford Graduate School of Business, NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights and the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative.[5][citation needed] She serves on the Aspen Institute, Ideo.org board of trustees, the Pakistan Business Council Centre of Excellence in Responsible Business (CERB)], and the USAID Energy Finance steering committee, and is a member of a World Economic Forum, Council on Foreign Relations, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.[citation needed] Hillary Clinton, as Secretary of State, appointed Novogratz to the State Department's Foreign Affairs Policy Board.[citation needed]

In 2010, Novogratz was the 2010 Rensselaer Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) for her work with Acumen as well as for her New York Times bestseller The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, published in 2009.[citation needed] In early March 2010, she received an honorary degree from Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.[citation needed] She established a book club for The Blue Sweater, using the school's honorarium to create "The Blue Sweater Challenge." The program allows young organizers from the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, who have hosted both "The Blue Sweater book club" and a TEDx in the Kibera slum, to identify and award three local groups who are doing the most to effect positive social change in their communities.[6]

The Blue Sweater[edit]

In 2009, Novogratz published the New York Times bestseller The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World.[citation needed] The book is a firsthand account of her journey from international banker to social entrepreneur and founder of Acumen.[citation needed] Since its publication, the book has been picked by the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Peace College as common reading for all incoming freshmen.[citation needed]

The title of her book, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, refers to an encounter she had in Kigali, Rwanda. Novogratz spotted a boy wearing a blue sweater that, upon closer inspection, turned out to be one her mother had given to Goodwill a decade earlier (her name was on it). This encounter led Novogratz to realize the interconnectedness of our world, which influences her work today.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Novogratz is married to Chris Anderson, the founder and owner of TED Talks, and they live in the West Village, New York.[7]

She has three step-daughters, Elizabeth, Anna, and Zoe (1986-2010).[citation needed] Her brothers include Michael Novogratz and Robert Novogratz, a designer who has been profiled in the Bravo television show 9 by Design.[citation needed]

Awards and fellowships[edit]


  1. ^ "The 25 Most Successful Stanford Business School Graduates". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  2. ^ a b c d "A Banker for the World: Jacqueline Novogratz of Acumen Fund". nytimes.com. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  3. ^ Coster, Helen. "Can Venture Capital Save The World?". forbes.com. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b "From Accidental Banker to 'Patient Capital' Leader: Distinguished Alumna Describes Creating New Kind of Capitalism". UVA Today. 2013-04-26. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  5. ^ "Advisory Board - Social Enterprise - Harvard Business School". Harvard Business School. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  6. ^ Novogratz, Jacqueline (10 March 2010). "The Blue Sweater Challenge: Inspiring Social Change in Kenya". Huffington Post.
  7. ^ Brown, Mick (29 April 2016). "'I was losing $1 million a day, every day for 18 months': Meet Chris Anderson, the man behind TED talks". Retrieved 9 August 2018 – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-01. Retrieved 2014-10-31.
  9. ^ "Famous Stanford Business School Students". Business Insider. 2014-09-09. Retrieved 2016-09-04.
  10. ^ Bromley, Anne. "From Accidental Banker to 'Patent Capital Leader'". UVa Today. University of Virginia. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  11. ^ "Vision Award | Center for Social Entrepreneurship". Mcse.middlebury.edu. 2015-12-18. Retrieved 2016-09-04.
  12. ^ "Vision Award". Social Entrepreneurship Programs. 2013-04-11. Retrieved 2018-04-30.
  13. ^ "The 25 Smartest People of the Decade". The Daily Beast.
  14. ^ University of Notre Dame. "Honorary Degree". Archived from the original on 13 August 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2011.