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Jacqueline Novogratz

Founder and CEO, Acumen

Biography

Acumen CEO and Founder, Jacqueline’s work began in 1986 when she quit her job on Wall Street to help open Rwanda’s first microfinance institution, Duterimbere—an experience that 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.

Fifteen years later, under Jacqueline’s leadership, Acumen has invested $103 million to build more than 96 social enterprises in countries like Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Pakistan, India, Colombia, the U.S. and others. These companies have created and supported 60,000 jobs, leveraged an additional $522 million, and brought basic services such as affordable education, health care, clean water, energy and sanitation to more than 200 million people. Fast Company named Acumen one of the world’s Top 10 Most Innovative Not-for-Profits in 2015. Prior to Acumen, Jacqueline founded and directed The Philanthropy Workshop and The Next Generation Leadership programs at the Rockefeller Foundation.

Jacqueline serves on the Aspen Institute Board of Trustees and the board of IDEO.org. She is a frequent speaker at forums including the Clinton Global Initiative, TED, and the Aspen Ideas Festival. 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 and to rethink their engagement with the world. In June 2016, Jacqueline received the Forbes 400 Lifetime Achievement Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

She holds an MBA from Stanford and a BA in Economics/International Relations from the University of Virginia.