Skoll Foundation, Acumen Fund Partner to Build Social Entrepreneurship Field

The Palo Alto-based Skoll Foundation has announced a three-year, $1.5 million field-building partnership with the New York City-based Acumen Fund that will build on a relationship that began in 2002.

The partnership will provide new opportunities to leverage the foundation and Acumen's complementary knowledge, skills, partners, and assets. Skoll will seek to support Acumen's work with social entrepreneurs and its efforts to develop metrics that advance the field's understanding of the financial and social impact of social enterprise. Acumen, which does not make grants, will focus on creating lasting solutions in the worldwide fight against poverty by supporting social entrepreneurs working within a market framework. Acumen is also creating a system that measures social returns and attempts to quantify the cost of delivering services using an entrepreneurial rather than a charitable model. The fund will report back to the foundation annually on outcomes, challenges, and lessons learned.

The partnership's objectives include identifying and funding high-performing social entrepreneurs, supporting them through skill building and management assistance, developing metrics to measure the impact of social entrepreneurship, and disseminating knowledge to the social entrepreneurship field. "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," said Acumen Fund founder and CEO Jacqueline Novogratz.

"Acumen Fund focuses on critical global issues that closely align with our program areas in health, environment, and economic and social equity," said Skoll president and CEO Sally Osberg. "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."

"Skoll Foundation Launches $1.5 Million Partnership With Venture Philanthropy Acumen Fund" Skoll Foundation Press Release 12/12/2006.