Earlier this year I was turned on to the great work of the Acumen Fund.
In short, the Acumen Fund is fighting global poverty by investing “patient capital” in for-profit companies that deliver goods and services to the poor.
The Acumen Fund is a bold new way of talking poverty that is about dignity, not dependence, and choice, not charity.
At their recent annual investor gathering, the Acumen Fund shared some truths they have discovered along the way of tackling global poverty:
- Dignity is more important to the human spirit than wealth.
- Neither grants nor markets alone will solve the problems of poverty.
- Poverty is a description of someone’s economic situation; it does not describe who someone is.
- We won’t succeed in the long term without cultivating local leaders, local money, and strong local communities.
- Great people, every time, no exceptions.
- Great technology alone is not the answer.
- If failure is not an option, you have ruled out success as well.
- Governments rarely invent solutions, but they can scale what works.
- There is no currency like trust, and there are no shortcuts to earning it.
- Patient capital investing is built upon a system of values; it is not a series of steps to be followed.
Poverty is a chronic disease, one as long-term and horrible as many diseases that we’ve managed to eradicate over the years.
The cure for this disease, though, is the action it takes to bring access, hope and dignity to the people who need it.
The opposite of poverty is not wealth, it is dignity.
We need a new kind of moral leadership, one that is rooted in values.
Organizations like Acumen and other NGOs doing amazing job of tackling global poverty, you have touched millions of people.
Tackling poverty is work that now matters in the developing world.
Any entrepreneur or marketer can learn a lesson from how new systems create new markets, and how an infinite increase in income or productivity can change everything. Everything.
We can learn so much from people who have less in their lives, than we can learn from people who have plenty.
The above 3 minutes video clip about Asking strangers for food vs Asking the Homeless for food is a remarkable illustration.