Jacqueline Novogratz is the founder and CEO of Acumen. Her work began in 1986 when she quit her job on Wall Street to co-found Rwanda’s first microfinance institution, Duterimbere. The experience inspired her to write the bestseller, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor, and create Acumen. Indeed, when she founded Acumen in 2001, few had heard of the words impact investing. Twenty years later, under Novogratz’s leadership, Acumen has invested $135 million to build 136 social enterprises across Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the United States. These companies have leveraged an additional $746 million and brought basic services like affordable education, health care, clean water, energy and sanitation to more than 308 million people. In 2015, Fast Company named Acumen one of the world’s Top 10 Most Innovative Not-for-Profits.
Prior to Acumen, Novogratz founded and directed The Philanthropy Workshop and The Next Generation Leadership programs at the Rockefeller Foundation. Novogratz serves on boards of the Aspen Institute and 60 Decibels and sits on the Advisory Councils of the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, the Oxford Said Global Leadership Council, the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, and UNICEF.
She is a frequent speaker at forums including TED and the Aspen Ideas Festival. Her best-selling memoir The Blue Sweater chronicles her quest to understand poverty and challenges readers to grant dignity to the poor and to rethink their engagement with the world. In 2017, Forbes listed Novogratz as one of the World’s 100 Greatest Living Business Minds.
She holds an MBA from Stanford and a BA in Economics/International Relations from the University of Virginia.
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