Blogs & Comment

Social Change with Acumen

Yesterday I posted something about new ways of financing social issues. Today, I read Seth Godin’s blogtoday and came across a remarkable US-based organization called the Acumen Fund. Acumen’s mission is to create a world beyond poverty by investing in social enterprises, emerging leaders, and breakthough ideas.
According to the Acumen, the key to ensuring low income people receive critical social services including water, health care, housing, and energy is Patient Capital. In their words “We use philanthropic capital to make disciplined investments loans or equity, not grants that yield both financial and social returns. Any financial returns we receive are recycled into new investments. Over time, we have refined the Acumen Fund investment model, built a world-class global team with offices in four countries, and learned what does and does not work in growing businesses that serve low-income people.”
Here’s what Acumen has accomplished over the last 10 years (from Seth’s Blog):

  • More than 3 million people have access to safe, affordable, and efficient energy
  • 7,000 people have jobs and hundreds of millions of insecticide treated bednets have been produced by A to Z
  • More than 330,000 farmers are changing their families lives with drip irrigation systems
  • Hundreds of thousands have access to quality sanitation in Kenya and Eco-Tact has become a model for other countries
  • More than 150,000 farmers have access to quality, affordable hybrid seeds in Western Kenya
  • 1298 is now answering more than 30.000 emergency calls every month in India (and has created more than 1250 jobs)
  • Kashf has reached more than 300,000 borrowers with micro-loans and emerged as one of Pakistans important civil society institution
  • The first commercial mortgages for the poor have been provided in Pakistan and Saiban has developed a working, sustainable model for low-income housing development
  • More than 350,000 individuals have access to safe drinking water (and this doesnt include the copycat companies that have emerged as a result of WHIs innovation in the Indian marketplace)
  • Aravind provides quality eyecare through telemedicine to millions across India and has served as a global model
  • Sekem is the largest exporter of organic goods from the Middle East to Europe (working with 4,000 farmers on reclaimed desert land)

That’s a lot of change in 10 years but as Seth says “passionate people on a mission can make change happen”. This list of accomplishments is also brimming with innovation.
Hope this inspires to you take more action and to do things differently.