Photo Courtesy of Fadra Nally
I try not to mix in too much of what I am working on over at Charitable Influence here on TCP – but there is room for crossover on the occasion when something big is brewing.
Today I wanted to share something very important to me that we are working on – a new quarterly online Book Club – featuring books that will challenge your thoughts, and help you to grow!
We just launched our very first selection, The Blue Sweater, by Acumen Fund CEO Jacqueline Novogratz. I wrote about this book, the authors autobiography, back in October and have dropped her name numerous times on this blog. I cannot stress enough how much this book changed my life.
On the philanthropy side, it changed the way I look at global poverty and world issues and challenged the thoughts I had about traditional charity and humanitarian work. It gave me new sense of hope – realistic hope – for the future.
On the “human” side, it displayed the yin and yang of humankind, and tugged on every emotion I carry with me. Most importantly it brought forth a whole new level of compassion that exists not on sympathy, but on an understanding that we are deeply interconnected. And for that I cannot thank the author enough.
This book isn’t just for would-be philanthropists or those working in the nonprofit sector – it is for anyone that seeking to understand humankind in a new light.
Book Club is for CI members only, however, if you are not a blogger please feel free to email me at email@example.com to discuss joining the group!
Recently, I came across a great talk that was given by Jacqueline Novogratz called, Inspiring A Life of Immersion. This TED talk was the very first time I had heard of Novogratz or her work with Acumen Fund, a self-described “non-profit global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems of global poverty.”
Her talk was indeed inspiring, and it opened up my eyes to a different way of viewing philanthropy. I was so intrigued that I got myself a copy of her autobiography, The Blue Sweater. The name of the book was inspired by a very significant blue sweater that Novogratz owned. It’s an amazing story which she describes in the video above.
In the book she details her experiences from Wall Street to Africa, and reveals the many steps taken to start up her own organization. Her in-depth experience working in Rwanda and other impoverished countries led her to create a different kind of system. This year, Acumen Fund is in it’s tenth year of operation.
The basics of the operation are as follows: Acumen Fund finds philanthropists to donate money. Next they find local businesses in developing countries that are providing long term solutions to water, food, energy and other issues, and provide the companies with a loan. The loan gets paid back, and the money is reinvested into another company. Novogratz calls this “patient capital,” though my description is simplified.
I love what Acumen Fund is doing. While there is definitely a need for various degrees of charitable organizations, it is important that there are people out there putting emphasis of sustainable practices that will last as well.