The Design Observer Group


Posted 09.19.11


The Editors

10 Things Acumen Fund Has Learned About Tackling Global Poverty



Saliban, an Acumen Fund housing investee in Pakistan

Acumen Fund, the New York-based organization that invests in social enterprises in disadvantaged parts of the world, is marking its 10th anniversary with a new website. Designed by MSDS (and the new gateway designed by Hyperakt), the freshly relaunched www.acumen.org articulates the group's mission and accomplishments while serving as a platform for a dialogue about social innovation.

Crystallizing a decade of experience, www.acumenfund.org features an essay called "10 Things We've Learned to Be True About Tackling Global Poverty."

In abbreviated form, those lessons are:
1. Dignity is more important to the human spirit than wealth.
2. Neither grants nor markets alone will solve the problems of poverty.
3. Poverty is a description of someone’s economic situation; it does not describe who someone is.
4. We won’t succeed in the long term without cultivating local leaders, local money, and strong local communities.
5. Great people, every time, no exceptions.
6. Great technology alone is not the answer.
7. If failing is not an option, you’ve ruled out success as well.
8. Governments rarely invent solutions, but they can scale what works.
9. There is no currency like trust, and there are no shortcuts to earning it.
10. Patient capital investing is built upon a system of values; it is not a series of steps to be followed.

The site offers an expanded discussion of these tenets. Over the next weeks, each lesson will also serve as a springboard for commentary on Acumen Fund's blog. It's begun with founder and CEO Jacqueline Novogratz's response to #1.