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.
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...
Just What Are “Basic Needs” in the 21st Century?
7/1/19 - The adjective “basic” describes something that forms an essential foundation; the noun “need” refers to something required. From this we can cobble together a dictionary definition of “basic needs,” but thankfully, centuries of various writing...
Is a Universal Basic Income a Key Ingredient?
6/17/19 - When I ponder the to-what-end question that has motivated so much of what I’ve written since launching this blog a few months back, and particularly when I’m working on one of the many projects Root Cause is involved with, I sometimes find myself thinking about...
“I don’t subscribe to the notion that these two things are tradeoffs.”
6/3/19 - “Which would you want for your own child: a backpack … or reading proficiency?” I posed that question as part of a three-post series a few weeks back; taken together, parts 1, 2, and 3 encapsulate my thinking about the key question I want to inspire readers...
“If We Can Imagine It, We Can Build It”: Susannah Morgan Interview, Part II
5/20/19 - In last week’s blog post, I wrote about the discussion I had with Susannah Morgan, the CEO at Oregon Food Bank. I shared her “fundamental mindset shift” in how she approaches her work, from “doing for” to “doing with” the people she serves.