Finding Common Purpose
About This Blog
Finding Common Purpose is a blog about building a 21st Century Social Contract so that more people are born healthy, gain a quality education, secure a well-paying job, and live a healthy and secure life. It is written by Andrew Wolk, founder & CEO of Root Cause.
In Finding Common Purpose, I will be exploring important—indeed, fundamental—questions about the work Root Cause and others engage in, focused on whether our efforts are making enough of a difference in the context of ensuring lifelong success for individuals, families, and communities from healthy birth to a quality education, a well-paying job, and healthy and secure aging.
I see this blog as kind of self-interrogation in which I pose these questions in public, think out loud about the answers, and encourage a conversation with you, the reader, as well as through interviews with people from government, nonprofits, the business sector, philanthropies, and communities nationwide.
Finding Common Purpose is born of the same culture of inquiry and commitment to continuous learning and improvement that has shaped Root Cause’s practice for fifteen years and grounds our mission today. My aim is for us to consider, together, what our Common Purpose really is. A starting point is a firm belief that what we have all been building over the past decades can be harnessed in the twenty-first century as a major force to help bridge the growing divisiveness in American society and enable more people to achieve lifelong success.
Do Classism and Racism Keep People from Being Hired? A Discussion with David Delmar Senties
10/7/19 - I’ve been thinking a lot about the “handoff” problem between different points along the pathway to lifelong success, and in my most recent posts I’ve focused on the transition from high school to some kind of post-secondary education or training that results in a good-paying job. To help ensure the success of a young person...
Balancing Individual and Institutional Responsibility
9/23/19 - What does it actually mean to have a social contract for the 21st century? That’s the question I found myself asking after speaking with Kevin Dowling. You met him in another recent post, although not by name. He and I first crossed paths at a “Future of Work” event at which I was a panelist, where he told me about his experience going from high school to culinary school...
The Untapped Talent Pool: Lessons from Boston’s State Street Bank
9/9/19 - Some years back, Michael Scannell mentored, as part of the Year Up program, a bright young man he describes as “someone you could tell had a tremendous amount of potential.” He had been working at one of the big box stores, and had a passion for computers and technology. When he completed Year Up, he was placed as an intern at a Boston law firm...
Just Who Is this Economy Working For, Anyway?
8/23/19 - I recently heard two stories I want to share. Each of them illustrates an aspect of how we, together as a society, are failing to ensure that people can get on and stay on a pathway to lifelong success.
Radically Resident-Driven: Another UBI Experiment
8/12/19 - In several blog posts, I’ve been diving deeper into guaranteed income as a way to ensure people can meet their basic needs and get on—and stay on—a pathway to lifelong success. Might direct cash payments—in the form of what most call universal basic income (UBI)—be an alternative to the programs that comprise America’s broken social safety net?
Government Benefits and Trust in People (Lessons from Stockton, California – Part 2)
7/29/19 - How does a guaranteed income impact financial insecurity and volatility? To what degree will a guaranteed income impact drivers of inequity and social determinants of health? How does guaranteed income unleash potential among recipients and generate agency over one’s future?
What Might $500 Do? (Lessons from Stockton, California – Part 1)
7/15/19 - Those of you who have been reading my blog know that I’ve been calling for a new social contract, one that puts more people on a lifelong pathway to success, aimed at realizing—as a country—population-level change and reduced disparities...