Convocation 2015: Jacqueline Novogratz receives honorary degree from U of T

The University of Toronto is recognizing Jacqueline Novogratz, founder and chief executive officer of Acumen, with an honorary degree.

Acumen is a nonprofit global venture fund that uses markets-based approaches to address global poverty. Under Novogratz's leadership, the fund has approved investments of more than $88 million in 82 companies in Africa, Latin America and South Asia – all focused on delivering affordable agricultural inputs, education, energy, health care, housing and water to the poor.

These companies have created and supported 60,000 jobs, leveraged an additional $500 million, and brought basic services to more than 125 million people.

Novogratz received the honour June 17, 2015 during convocation ceremonies for students of New College

Before founding Acumen, Novogratz founded and directed The Philanthropy Workshop and The Next Generation Leadership programs at the Rockefeller Foundation. Novogratz also co-founded Duterimbere, Rwanda’s first microfinance institution. She began her career in international banking with Chase Manhattan Bank.

Educated at Stanford (MBA) and the University of Virginia (BA in Economics/International Relations), Novogratz is a frequent speaker at forums including the Clinton Global Initiative, TED, and the Aspen Ideas Festival. Her best-selling memoir, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World, chronicles her quest to understand poverty and challenges readers to grant dignity to the poor and to rethink their engagement with the world.

Novogratz sits on the advisory boards of Sonen Capital, the Harvard Business School Social Enterprise Initiative, and the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies (SEED). She serves on the Aspen Institute Board of Trustees and the board of, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Sustainable Development.

In December 2011, Novogratz appeared on the cover of Forbes magazine as part of its edition on social innovation. She has been featured on Foreign Policy’s list of Top 100 Global Thinkers and named one of The Daily Beast’s 25 Smartest People of the Decade. Among her many accolades, Novogratz has received honorary degrees from the University of Notre Dame, Wofford College, Gettysburg College, Middlebury College, Fordham University, and Bard College as well the Freedom from Want Award from the Roosevelt Institute in 2011.

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