The power of The Bridgespan Group's alumni network to influence society is a critical part of Bridgespan's theory of change, and Bridgespan alumni are generating ever-increasing ripples of impact throughout the sector. Many Bridgespan alumni are engaged in addressing some of society's most important challenges and opportunities. Here meet Matt Forti, Managing Director of the One Acre Fund.
Matt Forti, Managing Director of One Acre Fund USA and Bridgespan Alumnus
From humble beginnings in a college dorm room, One Acre Fund has grown to help more than 300,000 African families achieve greater food security. Bridgespan alumnus Matt Forti is One Acre's managing director. While still at the Kellogg School of Management in 2006, Matt's roommate and One Acre founder, Andrew Youn, asked him to help fundraise to support his idea to help "smallholder" farmers—those with enough land for subsistence farming and little more—improve their agricultural productivity and end their families' chronic hunger. Together they launched a successful pilot in Kenya, and One Acre became an official nonprofit organization.
I firmly believe Bridgespan is the best possible training ground in the world for an operating role at a nonprofit. All the 'hard skills' I learned (e.g., analyzing financials, theory of change, performance measurement), but just as importantly the 'soft skills' (e.g., managing teams, consensus-building) are deployed every day at One Acre Fund—and they have made an extraordinary difference in our ability to assist Africa's smallholders to become more prosperous.
Matt Forti, Managing Director, One Acre Fund USA
As the managing director, Matt coordinates its development, finance, policy and communications, and people. He also oversees the organization's measurement and evaluation work, an area he became an expert in while working at Bridgespan. While at Bridgespan, Matt served as One Acre's board chair, as he also supported a wide range of nonprofits and other mission-driven organizations in designing performance measurement systems. He also co-authored a monthly blog series for Stanford Social Innovation Review and Bridgespan, "Measuring to Improve." Matt remains an adviser to Bridgespan on issues related to performance measurement and plays a leading role in the field.
At the heart of Bridgespan's theory of change there has always been a simple truth: it all depends on talented and passionate people who share a core set of values, are committed to serving others, and are eager to learn. Over time, some take on leadership roles at Bridgespan; others choose to be of service elsewhere in the nonprofit, philanthropic, government, and private sectors. Many have created mission-driven organizations or now lead influential organizations. Bridgespan is fortunate to continue to serve as a springboard for these extraordinary leaders who are engaged in bold efforts to effect real and lasting change.