Root cause

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Root Cause is an interesting American Foundation working on social entrepreneurship

Root Cause is a nonprofit organization that accelerates enduring solutions to social and economic problems by supporting social innovators and educating social impact investors. It does this through business planning and implementation, leadership development, research, and the creation of professional and funding networks that unite the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Founded in 2004 by Andrew Wolk, Root Cause has raised more than $22 million in investment and produced seven publications in its pursuit of advancing social innovation. Its clients address issues like youth development, seniors and aging, and economic development. It has developed a network of over 4,500 nonprofit, business, foundation, academic, and government leaders and engaged almost 250 professionally skilled volunteers.

The government and private sectors are increasingly looking to the nonprofit sector for innovative solutions to today’s complex social and economic problems. Social innovators are poised to fill these gaps, but they must first overcome institutional and market challenges — from outdated performance and operation models to a volatile and underdeveloped capital market that makes it difficult to grow to scale. Root Cause supports social innovators and educates social impact investors to overcome these obstacles.

With this preparation, it believes that more organizations will successfully implement business models to operate, develop funding, measure results, and accelerate impact. Increased collaboration among the public, private, and nonprofit sectors will simultaneously facilitate the growth of the social investment market, enabling social innovators to better fill pressing social and economic gaps.



Advancing Social Entrepreneurship: Recommendations for Policy Makers and Government Agencies By Andrew M. Wolk, Root Cause/MIT, co-published with The Aspen Institute This just-released report provides 13 recommendations and accompanying models to be used as tools by government leaders who are committed to spurring and supporting social innovation and entrepreneurship. A sampling of these recommendations and models includes:

  • Create the structure for a public-private social innovation fund (Models: Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) and Venture Philanthropy/Venture Capital)
  • Explore tax structure changes to enable new organizational forms (Model: North Carolina's L3C)

Social Entrepreneurship and Government: A New Breed of Entrepreneurs Developing Solutions to Social Problems A chapter in The Small Business Economy: A Report to the President Published by The Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy, 2007, by Andrew M. Wolk, Root Cause/MIT

This report offers a comprehensive introduction for city, state, and federal government officials to the field of social entrepreneurship and the work to date. It incorporates insights from experts in the field and case studies of eight successful social-entrepreneurial initiatives to address three questions:

  • What is social entrepreneurship?
  • How does social entrepreneurship help government benefit Americans?
  • How is government currently supporting social-entrepreneurial initiatives?

Louisiana Office of Social Entrepreneurship Copyright Root Cause Public Innovators This powerpoint presentation outlines the mission, model, strategies, and vision of the nation's first Office of Social Entrepreneurship.

Innovating the White House, Stanford Social Innovation Review

By Michele Jolin, Center for American Progress An article outlining strategies for the next president of the United States to spur social entrepreneurship.

Investing in Social Entrepreneurship and Fostering Social Innovation

By Michele Jolin, Center for American Progress This paper identifies some of the key ways in which policy-makers can support the growth and spread of innovative non-profit solutions, and offers some policy guidelines and a framework that the Center for American Progress intends to explore and expand during 2008. It argues that government can do more to expand the impact of the most successful social entrepreneurial models and to create a pipeline of future entrepreneurial efforts in the critical non-profit sector.

Business Planning for Enduring Social Impact: A Social-Entrepreneurial Approach to Solving Social Problems

A Root Cause How-to Guide By Andrew Wolk, Root Cause/MIT and Kelley Kreitz, Root Cause An introduction to business planning, drawing on Root Cause's consulting engagements with dozens of organizations and work with its own social enterprises.