Social entrepreneur Jacqueline Novogratz received this year’s Notre Dame Award for International Human Development and Solidarity, in recognition of her pioneering work to combine best practices from the worlds of business, aid, and charity in the service of human development.
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., presented the award at a public ceremony at 4 pm on Thursday Oct. 31 in the Hesburgh Center Auditorium. The presentation and Novogratz’s remarks can be seen here.
Novogratz is the founder and CEO of Acumen, a nonprofit global venture fund. Through Acumen, Novogratz has brought together free markets and philanthropy, investing charitable donations in businesses that provide essential services to the world’s poor while creating thousands of jobs. Acumen takes pride in being mindful of both financial and social returns on its investments.
Novogratz chronicles the journey to founding Acumen in her memoir, The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between the Rich and the Poor in an Interconnected World. The name is inspired by a blue sweater Novogratz received as a gift. After outgrowing it, she gave it away to Goodwill, only to find it again eleven years later in Africa, when she spotted a young boy wearing it, with her name still on the tag inside. That the sweater had made its trek all the way to Rwanda was ample evidence, she thought, of how we are all connected, how our actions—and inaction—touch people every day across the globe, people we may never know or meet.
The award presentation comes as the University recognizes outstanding achievements by women through the 2013-14 Notre Dame Forum on Women in Leadership. Over the course of this academic year, there were a number of Forum events designed to spotlight the extraordinary contributions and achievements of women across a range of fields, creating opportunities for the Notre Dame community to learn about these fields from the personal accounts of women who have risen to the top of their professions. In doing so, we hope to also foster campus dialogue about the barriers and benefits to women’s advancement in this nation and globally, and to encourage reflection on principles of justice and equality, values essential to society’s flourishing.