Skoll Foundation Launches $1.5 Million Partnership with Venture Philanthropy Acumen Fund

Share Article

The Skoll Foundation today announced a $1.5 million, three-year, field-building partnership with Acumen Fund, a nonprofit venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to create and support sustainable, scalable solutions addressing poverty in the developing world. Acumen Fund and the Skoll Foundation share common global concerns and belief in entrepreneurial models to effect lasting change.

Acumen Fund focuses on critical global issues that closely align with our program areas in health, environment, and economic and social equity

The Skoll Foundation, dedicated to advancing the work of social entrepreneurs around the world, today announced a $1.5 million, three-year, field-building partnership with Acumen Fund, a nonprofit venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to create and support sustainable, scalable solutions addressing poverty in the developing world.

The grant builds on the productive relationship the two organizations started in 2002, and provides new opportunities to leverage the foundation's and Acumen's complementary knowledge, skills, partners and assets. The Skoll Foundation seeks to support Acumen's work with social entrepreneurs and its efforts to develop metrics that will advance the field's understanding of the financial and social impact of social enterprise.

Acumen focuses on creating lasting solutions in the worldwide fight against poverty by supporting social entrepreneurs (SEs) working within a market framework. Acumen does not give grants; instead, it provides equity and loans and charges near market interest rates. To measure its progress, Acumen is creating an innovative metrics system that measures social returns and attempts to quantify the cost of delivering services using an entrepreneurial model rather than a charitable model. Acumen will report back to the foundation annually on outcomes, challenges and lessons learned.

"Acumen Fund focuses on critical global issues that closely align with our program areas in health, environment, and economic and social equity," said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. "By partnering with Acumen, the Skoll Foundation can increase its knowledge of what social entrepreneurs need to create successful ventures, what models work best and what constitutes success. The foundation will also gain access to a rich source of potential investments and connections for our social entrepreneurs."

"Expanding our partnership with the Skoll Foundation will enable us to more effectively do our part to advance the field of social entrepreneurship -- giving the world's poor the opportunity to make their own decisions by engaging them as active consumers rather than passive recipients of charity," said Acumen Fund founder and CEO, Jacqueline Novogratz. "We are committed, as is the Skoll Foundation, to learning how philanthropic capital and entrepreneurial approaches can be best combined to create innovative solutions that lift people out of poverty and serve as models for the rest of the world."

Specific objectives include:

  •     Identify and Fund High-Performing Social Entrepreneurs

Acumen and Skoll will work in collaboration to identify entrepreneurial entities that can address the needs of the world's poor by creating new systems that will efficiently deliver critical, affordable goods and services.

  •     Support SEs Through Skill Building and Management Assistance

Skoll funding will allow Acumen to strengthen the support services it offers its investment enterprises by expanding its programmatic team as its portfolios grow and exploring which services are more "value-added" for SEs and how best to deliver those services.

  •     Develop Metrics to Measure the Impact of Social Entrepreneurship

Acumen will develop social return measurements and benchmarks to track a broad spectrum of social, operational and financial outcomes resulting from its investments.

  •     Disseminate Knowledge to the Social Entrepreneurship Field

Acumen will disseminate its metrics and models widely, making maximum use of venues such as the Skoll World Forum, SocialEdge.org and other social entrepreneur gatherings and networking opportunities.

Previously, Acumen Fund received $505,000 from the Skoll Foundation to support Acumen's development as an innovative philanthropic organization and to provide capital for investment in social entrepreneurs in developing nations. Since receiving Skoll funding, Acumen has more than doubled the size of its investor base and has established significant partnerships with a wide range of institutional donors, including the Gates Foundation and Google.org.

About the Skoll Foundation

Headquartered in California's Silicon Valley, the Skoll Foundation was created by eBay's first president, Jeff Skoll, to fulfill his vision of a world where all people, regardless of geography, background or economic status, enjoy and employ the full range of their talents and abilities. Today the Skoll Foundation benefits communities around the world by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs--individuals dedicated to pioneering new innovations that result in lasting solutions to complex social problems.

The Skoll Foundation supports social entrepreneurs with the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship--multi-year grants awarded to individuals whose work has the potential for large-scale influence on six key issues: environmental sustainability, health, tolerance and human rights, institutional responsibility, economic and social equity, and peace and security. The foundation connects and celebrates social entrepreneurs through the annual Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Oxford University and through an online community at socialedge.org, and via media projects that feature social entrepreneurs such as the PBS documentary series The New Heroes and a series of short independent films called Uncommon Heroes. For more information, visit http://www.skollfoundation.org.

About Acumen Fund

Acumen Fund is a nonprofit venture fund that invests in market-oriented approaches for delivering critical, affordable goods and services to the world's poor. Acumen Fund's efforts focus on the convergence of philanthropic capital and business expertise to produce sustainable, scalable enterprises that reach underserved markets and open access to the opportunities of the global economy. For more information on Acumen Fund's activities and investments, visit http://www.acumenfund.org.

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

GROUP GORDON

212-780-0200
Email >
Visit website