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One Acre Fund took root in the “very fruitful soil” of the Kellogg environment, said Andrew Youn ’06, who founded the organization as an MBA student.

Fighting hunger farm by farm

Alumnus Andrew Youn’s One Acre Fund receives the prestigious Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship

By Amy Trang

4/16/2010 - A social venture founded by Andrew Youn ’06 during his time at Kellogg has been awarded the 2010 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

Along with six other recipients, Youn accepted the honor at the April 14-16 Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford.

Youn’s One Acre Fund empowers farm families in Kenya and Rwanda by providing them with the resources they need to lift themselves out of hunger and poverty, including seeds, fertilizer, education and access to markets. In less than four years, One Acre Fund has helped to triple the harvests and double the income per acre for subsistence farm families, and has served more than 22,000 families so far.

The Skoll Award, established by the Skoll Foundation, recognizes social entrepreneurs who are working to find solutions to the world’s most challenging economic and social problems. The award comes with a $765,000 grant that will allow the organization to grow significantly, Youn said.

“The Skoll Award is incredibly competitive, and highlights the most innovative and scalable organizations in the world — and people know that,” Youn said. “This grant will help raise our visibility and attract new supporters.”

One Acre Fund plans to serve 100,000 farm families in the next three years, which will have an impact on half a million people. Youn’s goal over the next 10 years is to serve 1 million families and potentially 5 million people, Youn said.

“In addition to these direct-service milestones, we are focusing increasing energy on helping partners and governments to serve their farmers better,” Youn said. “We want to build a broader movement around serving subsistence farmers effectively.”

Youn conceived the idea for One Acre Fund as a student at Kellogg, and used Kellogg’s Entrepreneurship and New Venture Formulation class to develop his business plan. The organization’s connection to Kellogg remains strong: Its founding board was comprised of Youn’s Kellogg classmates, and several of the seed-capital investors were board members of Kellogg’s Larry and Carol Levy Institute for Entrepreneurial Practice.

Kellogg alumni also have donated to the One Acre Fund out of their own pockets.

“Kellogg was very fruitful soil to plant the seed of One Acre Fund,” Youn said.