Andrew Wolk became a serial social entrepreneur more than twenty years ago to pursue his life’s work: helping best utilize resources that enable more individuals and families to achieve lifelong success, from a healthy birth, to entering school ready to learn, to receiving a quality education, to getting and keeping a good paying job, and to a healthy and secure aging.
Andrew is currently the CEO of Root Cause, the nonprofit consulting firm he founded in 2004. In that role, he has worked with dozens of foundations, nonprofit organizations, public school districts, corporations, and government agencies. His work includes partnering with the Open Society Foundations to develop the strategy and launch the Campaign for Black Male Achievement; managing the Workforce Investment Network with the State Street Foundation; and leading the Continuous Quality Improvement efforts as part of Get Ready Guilford with Ready for School, Ready for Life, and The Duke Endowment. His work on collective action, measurement, learning, improvement, and strategy and implementation has helped organizations across the country in the fields of early childhood and K-12 education, workforce development, poverty alleviation, and aging.
In addition, Andrew also founded, incubated, and spun off two sustainable, independent nonprofits, the Social Innovation Forum which builds organizational capacity and introduces community-based nonprofits to funders and Interise, which shifts the focus of technical assistance from start-up small businesses to existing community based businesses, as well a social impact consulting firm, Impact Catalysts.
Andrew has been recognized for his pioneering efforts as a teacher, having designed and taught one of the worlds first courses on social entrepreneurship in 1999 at Boston University and later lecturing at MIT, Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Boston College, and the Heller School at Brandeis University. Over the years, his work has been written about in the New York Times and Boston Globe and he has appeared on WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station.
After nearly two decades of work, Andrew became disillusioned with the lack of overall progress being made for millions of people in the United States, despite the expenditure of vast resources, both human and financial, by what he and others call the Nonprofit Industrial Complex — a complex web of hundreds of thousands of nonprofit organizations, myriad government programs at the federal, state, county, and municipal levels, thousands of foundations, millions of individual donors and volunteers, and hundreds of different school models. This compelled him to launch his blog and podcast, Finding Common Purpose, which explores the key question that must be asked about all this sort of work: To what end?
Andrew earned an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Management from Boston University and a BA from Lehigh University. He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts with his wife Jodi, two daughters Kayla and Lindsey, and their dog Riley.
Connect with Andrew on Twitter @AndrewWolk.