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Northwestern University

Matt Forti ’00

Matt Forti photoHometown

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Economics and Sociology majors

Why Weinberg?

“An arts and sciences education pulls your mind in new directions and challenges you to think in different ways.” As a double major in economics and sociology at the College, Forti approached his undergraduate education with an overarching goal: “I wanted to do something good for the world.”

After graduating from Northwestern in 2000, Forti performed pro-bono consulting work for nonprofit organizations as a consultant with Marakon Associates. That experience inspired him to return to Northwestern in 2004 to earn an MBA so that he could make an even bigger impact in the nonprofit world. He and classmate Andrew Youn conceived the One Acre Fund, an organization that seeks to address poverty by providing African farmers with higher-quality seed and fertilizer as well as basic business training.

“I didn’t know anything about Africa or agriculture, but I was excited to help a friend,” he recalls.

Changing lives 

Founded in 2006 with a small pilot program of 40 Kenyan farmers, the One Acre Fund now works with some 400,000 families each year across six African nations. By 2020, Forti and his team hope to reach at least 4 million people.

Forti is the One Acre Fund’s public face in the U.S., overseeing areas such as fundraising, communications and corporate finance as well as evaluating the Fund’s impact on quality of life, nutrition and women’s empowerment.

“The background I gained at Weinberg College shapes the way we have designed the One Acre Fund,” Forti says.  “It’s a balance of the head and the heart, of understanding human beings and how they relate to one another, in addition to a sound business acumen. To see the lives that have been changed as a result is inspirational."

“And if we can work with 4 million people, then you have to believe the next Nelson Mandela is in that group and will be the next agent for change in Africa.” 

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