Jacqueline Novogratz is the founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of poverty. Acumen Fund aims to create a world beyond poverty by investing in social enterprises, emerging leaders, and breakthrough ideas. Under Novogratz’s leadership, Acumen Fund has approved more than $80 million in investments in 73 companies in South Asia and Africa, all focused on delivering affordable healthcare, water, housing, and energy to the poor. These companies have created and supported more than 58,000 jobs, leveraged an additional $365 million, and reached over 100 million lives. In December 2011, Acumen Fund and Novogratz were on the cover of Forbes magazine as part of a feature on social innovation. Prior to Acumen Fund, Novogratz founded and directed The Philanthropy Workshop and The Next Generation Leadership programs at the Rockefeller Foundation. She also founded Duterimbere, a micro-finance institution in Rwanda. She began her career in international banking with Chase Manhattan Bank.
Novogratz currently sits on the advisory boards of MIT’s Legatum Center and the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative. She serves on the Aspen Institute Board of Trustees and the board of IDEO.org, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council for Social Innovation. She was appointed by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton to the Department of State’s Foreign Affairs Policy Board.
She has been featured in Foreign Policy’s list of Top 100 Global Thinkers and The Daily Beast’s 25 Smartest People of the Decade. Novogratz 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.
She has a bachelor’s degree in economics and international relations from the University of Virginia and holds an MBA from Stanford University. She has received honorary doctorates from the University of Notre Dame, Wofford College, Gettysburg College, and Fordham University as well the Freedom From Want Award from the Roosevelt Institute in 2011.