Harper Collins Publishers Inc
|Number of Pages
The Blue Sweater chronicles Jacqueline Novogratz's effort to make a difference in the lives of the women of Rwanda through her venture, the Acumen Fund.
Novogratz was a teenager when she was given the blue sweater. She continued to wear it into her late teens until some boys in her school made comments about the now ill fitting sweater. Eleven years later, on a trip to Africa she sees a boy wearing the exact same sweater she had given away and realizes how every action of hers could have far-reaching consequences.
The book takes us through Novogratz's journey through her job as a banker in Rio De Janeiro where she witnesses how the poor are treated in the country. She approaches her boss with the idea of donating money to the poor which is rejected. Undeterred in her search to find a way to make a difference, she discovers a nonprofit organisation for women in New York. She writes to the head and is offered a job in Rwanda where she facilitates loan lending to women. She explains that when women begin to work, it benefits the whole family but it is not so when it comes to men and that very little of the man's earning reaches the family.
The book describes how she goes on to set up her venture, Acumen Fund, and how it funded many successful services in developing countries like Kenya, Pakistan and Rwanda with the $30 million that she managed to amass and how she hopes to invest a total of $100 million for the same purpose. Novogratz fills her stories with realistic descriptions of Africa, its poverty and economics, the people she worked with and those she helped and her mentors, her professor at Stanford Business School with dignity, self-worth and independence as the theme.
The Blue Sweater was a New York Times bestseller and is used as study material at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Peace College. The book was published in 2009.
About Jacqueline Novogratz
Jacqueline Novogratz is the founder and CEO of the Acumen Fund, a venture that aims at facilitating ventures by and for the poverty stricken.
She began her career at Chase Manhattan Bank as an international credit analyst. 3 years later, she began to work for UNICEF in Rwanda where she helped found a microfinance institution called Duterimbere. She also founded the The Philanthropy Workshop and The Next Generation Leadership. She founded the Acumen Fund in 2001 which has invested $50 million in 50 businesses. She also serves on the board of trustees of the Aspen Institute and on the advisory board of Stanford Graduate School of Business. She has been presented with an Honorary Doctor of Science degree by University of Notre Dame, Warren Weaver Fellow by Rockefeller Foundation, Henry Crown Fellow by Aspen Institute, and many more awards. She lives with her husband Chris Anderson and has 3 daughters.