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Jacqueline Novogratz
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Jacqueline Novogratz is the Founder and CEO of Acumen. Under Jacqueline’s leadership, Acumen has invested over $88M in 82 companies in South Asia and Africa focused on delivering healthcare, water, housing, education and energy to the poor. These companies have created and supported 60,000 jobs, bringing basic services to over 125M people. Before Acumen, Jacqueline founded and directed the Rockefeller Foundation’s The Philanthropy Workshop and The Next Generation Leadership programs, co-founded Duterimbere, a micro-finance institution in Rwanda, and began her career in international banking with Chase Manhattan Bank. Jacqueline has been featured on the cover of Forbes magazine and sits on several advisory councils and boards, such as the Aspen Institute and Her best-selling memoir The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World chronicles her quest to understand poverty and challenges readers to grant dignity to the poor. She holds an MBA from Stanford and a BA from the University of Virginia.

Entries by Jacqueline Novogratz

We Are Each Other's Destiny

(0) Comments | Posted January 19, 2015 | 12:54 PM

To reflect on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is to consider deeply our human interconnectedness and the world we want to build. Each year on this day, I re-read his extraordinary, elegiac "Letter from Birmingham Jail" to remember his commitment to human equality and the...

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Losing Our Fears So We Don't Lose Ourselves

(0) Comments | Posted November 3, 2014 | 9:37 AM

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Ghana and was surprised by the number of thoughtful and concerned emails I received. Friends and colleagues worried about me traveling to West Africa, though Ghana had not seen a single case of Ebola. In fact, the country continues to struggle with a...

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Dispatch From Ghana: The Promise of Dignity

(0) Comments | Posted October 14, 2014 | 7:38 PM

I am writing on a return flight from Ghana. The country has not seen a single case of Ebola, yet the impact of fear is profound. As travelers enter the country, attendants screen for high temperatures. Hand sanitizer dispensers are omnipresent. Hotels and conferences have seen massive cancellations. Everywhere are...

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Westgate One Year Later: A Perspective on Courage

(0) Comments | Posted September 21, 2014 | 11:25 PM

Courage. The word swirls round my head today, a year after the horrific terror attacks on Westgate mall in Nairobi that left 67 dead and scores injured. Courage because so many individuals ran into the mall during the shootouts to try and save innocents. Courage because

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Life Is So Short: If Not of Purpose, Then of What?

(0) Comments | Posted May 29, 2014 | 5:15 PM

Springtime. A day trip to speak in Washington, D.C. coincided with the peak of the city's prized cherry blossoms, a gift from Japan to the United States in 1912. I walked at dawn, mesmerized by those venerable trees, their gnarled trunks and knotted branches adorned with fragile blushing flowers, promises...

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How to Thrive

(4) Comments | Posted March 27, 2014 | 10:05 AM

Arianna Huffington has nailed it. We Thrive when we move from a place of wonder and generosity. We Thrive when we are used for good. It is not always easy, and rarely connected to a more facile quest for "happiness." To Thrive, really, is to be grounded in a state...

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Leadership that Challenges Corruption

(1) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 12:25 PM

During Chinese New Year celebrations just a few weeks ago, I walked through the streets of New York as colorful confetti mingled with white snowflakes: beautiful fragments, a fluttering, harmonious welcome to the Year of the Galloping Horse. Indeed, Acumen is moving apace. January brought a trip to India; February,...

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Remembering Nelson Mandela

(2) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 12:02 PM

One of my life's privileges was standing with a group of ordinary citizens listening to President Nelson Mandela at an outdoor town meeting in 1999. Here he was, this most extraordinary human being and moral leader, speaking in a neighborhood, thanking and preparing them as he peacefully -- and historically...

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Dignity, Not Dependence While Living Under $1 a Day

(5) Comments | Posted February 18, 2013 | 10:32 PM

Her name is Teresia and she is full of life. She hails from Central Kenya, an area rich in agriculture where many still scratch out a living from the land itself. Nearly. Teresia, her daughter and her grandson together live on about $1 a day, earned from informal farm work....

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What Are You Doing When You Feel Most Beautiful?

(9) Comments | Posted November 15, 2012 | 11:23 AM

I was recently asked by the New York Times what questions I pose when I interview job candidates. A favorite of mine is "What are you doing when you feel most beautiful?" The reporter printed it, and I received dozens of responses to the question from people around...

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Roshan Tara Lights the World

(1) Comments | Posted October 26, 2012 | 4:20 PM

On a trip across India with Acumen advisors earlier this month, we take a 13-hour overnight train from Delhi to Gorakhpur in the state of Uttar Pradesh, then drive 2 hours to Kushinagar, the revered place where the Buddha took his last breaths. After a short break, we...

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Thinking About Values in Tension

(0) Comments | Posted August 1, 2012 | 10:06 AM

In David Brooks' July 25th column, he discusses the power of holding contradictory tensions, a power that underscores what makes the Olympics so vital and essential in uniting us as a single world while also celebrating individuals and nations. He goes onto say that all enduring institutions --...

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What It Means to Really Stand for the Poor

(115) Comments | Posted April 5, 2012 | 5:29 PM

In places where government priorities and market imperatives create a world so capricious that to help a neighbor is to risk your ability to feed your family, and sometimes even your own liberty, the idea of the mutually supportive poor community is demolished. The poor blame one another for the...

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Taking the Next Step in Pakistan

(3) Comments | Posted August 1, 2011 | 11:45 AM


This morning, Lahore is hot and sunny. Former Acumen Fund Fellow Jawad Aslam meets us in our guesthouse lobby and we drive through the city, passing Lahore's beautiful fort and mosque, admiring the mix of cars and donkey carts, of morning life, though traffic is easier before nine...

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Winter 2011: A Growing Sense Of Urgency

(0) Comments | Posted February 16, 2011 | 7:19 PM

The year 2011 has many of us around the world trying to catch our breath and make sense of all that is happening at home and elsewhere. Think about the Middle East and North Africa! Egypt has unleashed a global recognition that change is possible -- and people want to...

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Are You Ready to Change the World?

(4) Comments | Posted December 6, 2010 | 1:14 PM

People are searching for better uses of their charity. After nine years, I feel most strongly than ever that patient capital is a powerful way to build sustainable enterprises that can bring critical services like clean water, health care, housing and energy to low-income people in ways that they can...

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Humanity Amidst the Horror in Pakistan

(26) Comments | Posted September 14, 2010 | 12:47 AM

When TED's Chris Anderson and I returned last week from our visit to Pakistan's flood zones, we couldn't get out of our heads the faces of the people we'd seen. They comprised the true treasure of Pakistan, the unlimited potential of what it means to be human, stuck...

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Is There a Better Refugee Camp Design?

(14) Comments | Posted September 6, 2010 | 12:04 PM

Five days ago, the great river Indus continued its rush to the sea and flooded the plains of Thatta and Sujawal, towns located about 90 minutes outside of Karachi. Dr. Rashid Bhajwa hosted my husband, Chris Anderson, and me to visit the camps his organization is supporting there. Dr....

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Pakistan Needs More Servant Leadership

(8) Comments | Posted September 3, 2010 | 8:44 PM

I'm in the office of Dr. Sono, one of Pakistan's most extraordinary social entrepreneurs. Born a Hindu Dalit or "untouchable," he has worked for his country since his youth and emerged as one of the most important grassroots leaders in Sindh. He runs the Sindh Rural Support Organization, a nonprofit...

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Dispatches From Pakistan

(63) Comments | Posted September 2, 2010 | 8:33 PM


At a camp for flood victims in Rhojan, Pakistan, we meet a man named Humayan who is standing beneath his USAID-issued plastic tarpaulin with 16 family members on a 100-plus degree morning. He tells us he is a tractor driver...

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