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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. 

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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.

Finding Common Purpose

Why Do So Many Low-Income College Students Drop Out? A Conversation with Patrick Rametti, Director of College Completion at Uncommon Schools: Part II

11/18/19 - My last post, “It’s the Academics Stupid!,” introduced Patrick Rametti, Director of College Completion at Uncommon Schools—an organization that manages 54 nonprofit, charter public schools, kindergarten through high school, in urban locations in ...

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Finding Common Purpose

It’s the Academics, Stupid! A Conversation with Patrick Rametti, Director of College Completion at Uncommon Schools: Part I

11/4/2019 - Do you know that 38% of undergraduates are at public two-year colleges? That of the remaining 62%, three-fourths attend four-year public colleges and universities? Or that overall, only 11% of students from the lowest-income quartile graduate within six years—and that 40% never finish?

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Finding Common Purpose

Whiteness Opens Doors: A Discussion with David Delmar Senties, Part II

10/21/19 - When David Delmar Senties faces hurdles to get more companies on board as employers of Resilient Coders graduates, his “whiteness” allows him to jump over them. I ended my last blog post with a promise to tell you the details.

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Finding Common Purpose

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...

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Finding Common Purpose

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...

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Finding Common Purpose

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...

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Finding Common Purpose

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.

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