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Collective action is the action taken together by a group of people who share knowledge, resources, and effort to achieve a common purpose.

Collective Action

Root Cause guides networks of organizations and community members in cultivating a common purpose and organizing their efforts to improve lives across a community. By contributing to the success of our partners in collective action, Root Cause aims to enable more people to experience lifelong success, from  a healthy birth, a quality education, a good quality job, and healthy and secure aging.

Our team functions as a network manager, coordinating services, measurement activities, and the use of common data systems, and facilitating dialogue and teamwork focused on a common goal.  We provide research, coaching, and evaluation services, while working with partners to build capacity to sustain progress and impact.

Our approach is grounded in the experiences of people in the community.  We work with partners to understand how people experience barriers to success, such as those connected to race, class, gender, and geography.  

Project Goals

Collective Action projects aim to achieve the following goals:

Build for lifelong success.
Partners develop networks of support that enable people to successfully advance from one stage of life to the next. Projects create intentional linkages between resource and service providers so that more people and families experience a healthy birth, a quality education, a well-paying job, and healthy and secure aging.
Strengthen collaboration.
Communities strengthen cross-sector collaboration between nonprofit organizations, public agencies, and funders. Projects aim to establish a common purpose, facilitate the sharing expertise and knowledge, identify gaps, and align efforts to achieve greater collective impact.
Increase equity in practice and outcomes.
Communities reduce disparities in access and participation to essential services and resources, with a focus on increasing opportunities that enable more families to succeed at every stage of life.
Strengthen community leadership.
Partners translate a community’s good intentions into meaningful improvements in people’s lives. They drive community efforts to build resilient support systems, create effective policies, and improve the broader conditions that enable more people and families to thrive.
Achieve systems change.
Partners share a common purpose and work together to transform the broader systems and conditions that shape community-wide opportunities and create or limit access across a population.
Improve quality of life.
As opportunities for social & economic participation are more broadly shared, and as barriers are reduced, more people succeed, disparities are addressed, and our communities and nation as a whole are better off.

Working together to enable more people to achieve lifelong success.

Project Activities

Root Cause helps partners design, build, and manage complex strategies that involve many stakeholders and reach across communities. Projects are grounded in what people in a community need to succeed and the community’s capacity to support their lifelong success. We help partners to:

Cultivate a common sense of purpose & direction for improving people's lives.

Collective Action projects start with a common sense of purpose shared by all actors: coordinate services and improve people’s lives in meaningful and measurable ways. Root Cause helps clients and partners find, focus on, and follow a North Star that leads to real and sustained impact across a population.

Coordinate services that expand supports for more people.

Through intentional and structured coordination, we create connections between services and resources within and across sectors, such as health, education, and economic security.  We help partners design and build inbound and outbound connections that support people’s transitions from one stage of life to the next (such as, from high school to college and into the workforce).

Develop common measures of success.

Partners in collective action projects develop and adopt shared performance metrics that are focused on research-based milestones of success.  

Identify, understand, and reduce structural barriers to people’s success.

We examine the conditions, institutions, and policies that affect people’s lives to understand how they support, or create barriers to, success.  We help clients design to reduce and eliminate those barriers in terms such as income, geography, race, gender, and citizenship.

Engage people and families.

Through deep research into the lived experiences of people in the community, we help partners gain clarity on what really matters for people and families to thrive.

Map a community’s ecosystem of programs and resources and identify forces that create or limit opportunities for people.

More people will succeed when basic systems, from education and healthcare to local businesses and nonprofit networks – become more effective.  Our team works with partners to map complex systems, understand how people interact with them, and evaluate opportunities to transform the institutions, systems, and conditions that help or hinder equal opportunity and achievement.

Facilitate dialogue, strengthen relationships, and build consensus across a wide range of stakeholders.

We bring people and organizations together to create new connections, strengthen partnerships, and move bold ideas forward.  Our approach is inclusive and collaborative as we guide a wide range of stakeholders along a common path toward a common cause.

Facilitate supportive communities of practice.

Collective action projects bring cross-sector, cross-disciplinary, place-based partners together to build connections, learn and share what works, and advance data-informed strategies to improve people’s lives.  We convene partners and facilitate communication and consensus-building to advance the collaborative and intentional alignment of programs and services.

Share a common data system and collect and use data to strengthen service delivery.

Partners utilize a common data system and measurement practices to assess effectiveness and focus their common course.  We help partners effectively deploy their resources and coordinate services to enable people’s success. Partners create the time and space to track performance metrics, assess progress, and apply learning for continuous improvement.

Deliver coaching to strengthen the effectiveness of organization and community leaders.

Leadership development is a critical step in improving the efficacy of collective action projects.  We help leaders navigate and strengthen relationships, align purpose with action, and maintain the project’s direction toward its ultimate goal.

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