filter by audience:
filter by topic:
filter by service:
filter by status:
CLOSE

About Us

Root Cause is a purpose-driven consulting group that exists to enable more people and families to achieve lifelong success.

We partner with foundations, nonprofit organizations, businesses, school districts, and public agencies to develop, implement, and measure strategies that improve people’s lives.

Since 2004, the Root Cause team has pioneered evidence-driven approaches to (1) strategy and implementation, (2) measurement, learning and improvement, and (3) collective action so that more people achieve lifelong success.  We have helped more than 200 partners improve people’s health and well-being, increase education and youth development outcomes, and strengthen the economic security of people and families nationwide.

To What End?

Root Cause starts all of its work by asking the question, To what end?  

Our answer is based on the belief that success is a lifelong endeavor.  What do we mean by lifelong success? We believe a person experiences success when they achieve key milestones and progress from one stage of life to another, from a healthy birth, to a quality education, a well-paying job, and healthy and secure aging.  

To what end? cuts to the root all of that we do.  It sharpens our sense of purpose and is a pillar of our Principles of Engagement.  Its answers shape how we approach all our projects with our partners.  We believe asking it can focus the sector, as explored through our blog, Finding Common Purpose.  

A Framework for Lifelong Success

Ages
0-5
6-12
13-19
20-29
30-65
65+

Prenatal Development, Infancy & Early Childhood

Examples of milestones include:

  • Babies are born healthy to expecting mothers.
  • Infants achieve healthy developmental milestones.
  • Children enter school prepared to learn.

Childhood

Examples of milestones include:

  • Children read on grade level by end of third grade.
  • Children participate in regular exercise and eat nutritious meals.
  • Children are safe and secure in their home, school, and community.

Youth

Examples of milestones include:

  • Youth develop strong social bonds and networks of support with their peers.
  • Youth graduate on time from high school.
  • Youth pursue a post-secondary education and/or job training program.

Young Adulthood

Examples of milestones include:

  • Young adults earn a college degree or advanced career training certification.
  • Young adults enter the workforce and gain professional experience.
  • Young adults are physically and mentally well.

Adulthood

Examples of milestones include:

  • Adults advance in their careers and increase their earnings.
  • Adults contribute to their community (i.e., taxes, voting, etc).
  • Adults plan and save for a secure retirement.

Late Adulthood

Examples of milestones include:

  • People live longer, healthier lives.
  • People are financially secure in their old age.
  • People maintain strong social bonds in the community.
Ages
0-5
6-12
13-19

Prenatal Development, Infancy & Early Childhood

Examples of milestones include:

  • Babies are born healthy to expecting mothers.
  • Infants achieve healthy developmental milestones.
  • Children enter school prepared to learn.

Childhood

Examples of milestones include:

  • Children read on grade level by end of third grade.
  • Children participate in regular exercise and eat nutritious meals.
  • Children are safe and secure in their home, school, and community.

Youth

Examples of milestones include:

  • Youth develop strong social bonds and networks of support with their peers.
  • Youth graduate on time from high school.
  • Youth pursue a post-secondary education and/or job training program.
Ages
20-29
30-65
65+

Young Adulthood

Examples of milestones include:

  • Young adults earn a college degree or advanced career training certification.
  • Young adults enter the workforce and gain professional experience.
  • Young adults are physically and mentally well.

Adulthood

Examples of milestones include:

  • Adults advance in their careers and increase their earnings.
  • Adults contribute to their community (i.e., taxes, voting, etc).
  • Adults plan and save for a secure retirement.

Late Adulthood

Examples of milestones include:

  • People live longer, healthier lives.
  • People are financially secure in their old age.
  • People maintain strong social bonds in the community.

This framework for lifelong success is borrowed heavily from great work across the country, including the Social Genome Project at The Brookings Institute, Strive Together, Promise Neighborhoods, Ready for School, Ready for Life, and others working on supporting people to achieve success at different points in their life.

Milestones  are examples of evidence-based indicators that are representative of a successful life experience.  We are equally focused on the milestones people achieve in each stage as we are about people’s transition from one phase to the next, and the connections that link people and families to support services and systems that enable their success throughout their lives.

Principles of Engagement

Because Root Cause exists to improve people’s lives, we take a people-centric approach to our practice. These principles help us focus on what really matters for more people to experience lifelong success.

Work with a Common Purpose.
Continuously seek to strengthen coordination around a common purpose of enabling more people to progress from a healthy birth, to a quality education, a well-paying job, and healthy and secure aging.
Involve People in Communities.
Engage people and families as partners in planning, implementing, and measuring our efforts designed to create the conditions for their success.
Define What Matters.
Ensure our partners have a rigorous hypothesis for how their activities will measurably help more people succeed and achieve key milestones from one stage in life to the next.
Aim for Equity.
Approach our work by seeking to understand the community-wide conditions that enable people to thrive, with a focus on reducing disparities based on race, class, gender, geography, and other factors.
Think Big.
Seek to partner with public and private sector systems to improve the broader conditions that affect people’s lifelong success.
Make Smart Decisions.
Use data and evidence to continuously improve all aspects of work.