Patient Capital

Jacqueline Novogratz was born in 1961and is the oldest of 7children. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and International Relations and an MBA from Stanford.

Jacqueline began her career at Chase Manhattan Bank doing analysis of international investments. She became disappointed with her work so she left the banking industry. She then pursued positions with the World Bank and UNICEF. Again she wanted to do more to support the people she met with in poor countries where she worked.

What changed her life was a blue sweater she saw a boy wearing in Rwanda. It was a sweater she had bought and wore and eventually gave to Goodwill. It was at that moment she began to realize how connected the world was and how she could build something special from those connections.

In 2001, she founded Acumen with support from foundations and philanthropists. The key feature of Acumen is something called patient capital. Rather than treating people in poverty conditions with handouts, she treats them as business partners. Investments are extended over 7-12 years with only an expected return of the original investment.

Acumen’s measure of success is the number of lives they improve. What they are really impacting is giving hope to those who have little. It also invests in the development of social leaders who can multiply the impact of Acumen’s work. Over 260,000,000 lives have been impacted in Acumen’s first two decades.

What Jacqueline realized is that to develop hope in others you need to invest in them so they can sustain the investments made. Handouts have a short-lived impact whereas patient capital results in sustainable change which can be multiplied to support others. Just as a blue sweater provided sustainable value over a long period of time, so can patient capital.

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“My dream is to find individuals who take financial resources and convert them changing the world in the most positive ways.”  – Jacqueline Novogratz

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