We each want to live a life of purpose, but where to start?
In this luminous, wide-ranging talk, Jacqueline Novogratz introduces us to people she’s met in her work in “patient capital” — people who have immersed themselves in a cause, a community, a passion for justice. These human stories carry powerful moments of inspiration.
Jacqueline Novogratz founded and leads Acumen Fund, a nonprofit that takes a businesslike approach to improving the lives of the poor. In her new book, The Blue Sweater, she tells stories from the new philanthropy, which emphasizes sustainable bottom-up solutions over traditional top-down aid.
Why you should listen to her:
One of the most innovative players shaping philanthropy today, Jacqueline Novogratz is redefining the way problems of poverty can be solved around the world. Drawing on her past experience in banking, microfinance and traditional philanthropy, Novogratz has become a leading proponent for financing entrepreneurs and enterprises that can bring affordable clean water, housing and healthcare to poor people so that they no longer have to depend on the disappointing results and lack of accountability seen in traditional charity and old-fashioned aid.
The Acumen Fund, which she founded in 2001, has an ambitious plan: to create a blueprint for alleviating poverty using market-oriented approaches. Indeed, Acumen has more in common with a venture capital fund than a typical nonprofit. Rather than handing out grants, Acumen invests in fledgling companies and organizations that bring critical — often life-altering — products and services to the world’s poor. Like VCs, Acumen offers not just money, but also infrastructure and management expertise. From drip-irrigation systems in India to malaria-preventing bed nets in Tanzania to a low-cost mortgage program in Pakistan, Acumen’s portfolio offers important case studies for entrepreneurial efforts aimed at the vastly underserved market of those making less than $4/day.
It’s a fascinating model that’s shaken up philanthropy and investment communities alike. Acumen Fund manages more than $20 million in investments aimed at serving the poor. And most of their projects deliver stunning, inspiring results. Their success can be traced back to Novogratz herself, who possesses that rarest combination of business savvy and cultural sensitivity. In addition to seeking out sound business models, she places great importance on identifying solutions from within communities rather than imposing them from the outside. “People don’t want handouts,” Novogratz said at TEDGlobal 2005. “They want to make their own decisions, to solve their own problems.”
In her new book, The Blue Sweater, she tells stories from the new philanthropy, which emphasizes sustainable bottom-up solutions over traditional top-down aid.
“Acumen Fund is a not-for-profit group (but not a charity) that is supported by investors (not donors) who want a good “social return” on their capital.” — Fortune
I HAVE BOLDLY REPOSTED THIS VIDEO ARTICLE FROM TED.COM
TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and Open TV Project, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.
The annual TED conferences, in Long Beach/Palm Springs and Edinburgh, bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes).
On TED.com, we make the best talks and performances from TED and partners available to the world, for free. More than 700 TEDTalks are now available, with more added each week. All of the talks are subtitled in English, and many are subtitled in various languages. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted.
Our mission: Spreading ideas.
We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other. This site, launched April 2007, is an ever-evolving work in progress, and you’re an important part of it. Have an idea? We want to hear from you.
The springtime TED Conference, held annually in Long Beach and simulcast in Palm Springs, is at the heart of TED. More than a thousand people now attend — indeed, the event sells out a year in advance — and the content has expanded to include science, business, the arts and the global issues facing our world. Over four days, 50 speakers each take an 18-minute slot, and there are many shorter presentations, including music, performance and comedy. There are no breakout groups. Everyone shares the same experience. It shouldn’t work, but it does. It works because all of knowledge is connected. Every so often it makes sense to emerge from the trenches we dig for a living, and ascend to a 30,000-foot view, where we see, to our astonishment, an intricately interconnected whole.
TEDGlobal is TED’s twin conference. It was held in Oxford, UK, in 2005, 2009 and 2010, and in Arusha, Tanzania, in 2007. TEDGlobal is now held annually in Edinburgh, UK each summer. The themes of the global conference are slightly more international in nature, but the full TED format is maintained.
TEDActive features a live simulcast of the Long Beach conference, in fabulous Palm Springs, with an emphasis on connection, conversation and creation.
TEDIndia was held in November 2009 in Mysore, India, celebrating and exploring the beckoning future of South Asia.
TEDWomen is a two-day TED conference set for December 2010 in Washington, DC, which asks: How are women and girls reshaping the future?
The TED Prize is designed to leverage the TED Community’s exceptional array of talent and resources. It is awarded annually to an exceptional individual who receives $100,000 and, much more important, the granting of “One Wish to Change the World.” After several months of preparation, the wish is unveiled at an award ceremony held during the TED Conference. Over the life of the prize, wishes have led to collaborative initiatives with far-reaching impact.
TEDTalks began as a simple attempt to share what happens at TED with the world. Under the moniker “ideas worth spreading,” talks were released online. They rapidly attracted a global audience in the millions. Indeed, the reaction was so enthusiastic that the entire TED website has been reengineered around TEDTalks, with the goal of giving everyone on-demand access to the world’s most inspiring voices.
The TED Fellows helps world-changing innovators from around the globe become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities. TED Fellows, TEDGlobal Fellows, and TED Senior Fellows are drawn from many disciplines that reflect the diversity of TED’s members: technology, entertainment, design, the sciences, the humanities, the arts, NGOs, business and more.
The TED Open Translation Project brings TEDTalks beyond the English-speaking world by offering subtitles, interactive transcripts and the ability for any talk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. We launched the project with more than 250 translations, 50 languages and 100 volunteer translators; one year on, there are more than 11,000 completed translations from our thousands-strong community. It’s an ambitious project that radically enhances the accessibility of the talks — for the hearing-impaired, for those who speak English as a second language, for search engines (which can now index the full transcript of a talk), and of course for the vast audience of non-English speakers worldwide.
Today, TED is therefore best thought of as a global community. It’s a community welcoming people from every discipline and culture who have just two things in common: they seek a deeper understanding of the world, and they hope to turn that understanding into a better future for us all.