Who is Sasha Dichter and Why You Should Care


Major props to my friend and colleague Tim Errickson, artistic director of The Boomerang Theatre Company and brave, intrepid chieftain of the Community Dish, for pointing out Sasha Dichter to all of us on the Dish listserv. From Dichter’s blog:

Sasha Dichter is, among other things, the Director of Business Development at Acumen Fund, a global non-profit venture capital fund that invests in enterprises that fight poverty in the developing world. Sasha began his career at Booz Allen Hamilton as a consultant in the Communications, Media and Telecom practice, spending most of his time in South America and Europe working on privatizations, acquisitions, market entry, and product development strategies for wireless companies – all this despite renting a lovely studio on the Upper West Side in NY. He received a dual degree from Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School and spent his graduate school summers in Indonesia at the microfinance bank Bank Rakyat Indonesia and at a venture-backed startup called Navic Networks (which, amazingly, was recently acquired by Microsoft). After graduate school Sasha worked at IBM and GE Money in Corporate Citizenship. Sasha joined Acumen Fund in January of 2007.

In other words, not your usual blogger for those of us cruising through the theatrosphere to be thinking about or quoting or bumping into. But Dichter has created, sort of as a subset of his current position, a brilliant and moving manifesto that all heads of all nonprofit organizations may want to give a reading to. It’s just poignant and smart and well done. And Tim put out an email to the Dish listserv today linking to it, and I’m so glad he did. Here’s the opening:

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I’m sick of apologizing for being in charge of raising money.

I work at a great nonprofit organization1 that is doing great things in the world, one that’s attacking daunting problems in a powerful new way. I believe in what we do, and think that we may be catalyzing a shift in how the world fights poverty.

So why did one of my mentors – someone with a lot of experience in the non‚Äêprofit and public sector – tell me not to take this job? “Be careful,” he said, “You’ll get pigeonholed. Once a fundraiser, always a fundraiser.”

Anyway, read it. I do wish Dichter found a way to mention the arts in some way, but one can easily extrapolate, I think.