Mendoza School of Business

Author and founder of poverty-relief venture to speak at Mendoza College graduate commencement

Published: May 6, 2011 / Author: Carol Elliott

The founder of an organization dedicated to relieving global
poverty through entrepreneurship will be the graduate commencement speaker for
the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business.

is the founder and
CEO of the Acumen Fund, nonprofit
global venture fund that uses entrepreneurial approaches to solve the problems
of global poverty. The venture employs a unique paradigm that combines philanthropy
with a market-based model, investing philanthropic
capital in the form of loans or equity – not grants – in ventures that yield
both financial and social returns.

The Mendoza
College of Business Graduate Ceremony and Conferring of Degrees
for the
school’s Executive MBA, MBA, MNA and MSA programs takes place at 10 a.m. on
Saturday, May 21, in the Joyce Center Purcell Pavilion.

Novogratz, who also will receive an honorary doctorate from
Notre Dame,
has led the Acumen Fund team since its launch in 2001. Under her
leadership, the Fund
has invested $40 million in more than 35 companies serving 25 million
low-income customers in the developing world. The investments focus on
delivering affordable, critical goods and services, including health care, water, housing and energy.

Acumen success stories include an organization
that brings safe drinking water to 287 villages in India, and a textile
mill that produces 20 million bed nets in Africa, which provide protection from malaria for almost 40 million
people.  Acumen has offices in
New York, Pakistan, India and Kenya.  The nonprofit also includes the Acumen Fund Fellows Program, which
focuses on training the next generation of business leaders with an
understanding of global issues and poverty.

Novogratz is a frequent speaker at international conference, including
the World Economic Forum, the Clinton Global Initiative and TED (Technology,
Entertainment and Design). She is the author
of the best-selling book, The
Blue Sweater
, which gives an account of her leaving the world of international banking and
her pursuit to understand global poverty. 
The title of the book came from a story she tells about her favorite
blue sweater that she donated to Goodwill when she was 10 years old.  Eleven years later, when she traveled to
Rwanda, she saw a young boy wearing her sweater, with her name still on the

Novogratz earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics/International Relations
in 1983 from the University of Virginia, and her MBA in 1991 from Stanford

For complete Mendoza College of Business commencement
information, visit


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