The Root Cause Blog
06 Sep

What Root Cause is Reading

By Louisa Jacquinto, Business Development Manager

As summer winds down, our team at Root Cause has been reflecting on some of our favorite summer reads on strategy, assessments, data, evidence, and high performance. Check out the below list for our picks from the summer months that have our team talking. 

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Data and Evidence: 


How to Build Great Organizations for Greater Societal Impact (NP Engage)—At Root Cause, we agree with our colleagues from The Performance Imperative Campaign that a culture of learning is one of the most important aspects of a high-performing nonprofit. But how do you know you’re on the right track? Click to read some key principles gleaned from efforts to build a culture of learning in a variety of organizations.    

Data as a Means, Not an End: A Brief Case Study (SSIR)—City Year, faced with data inventory and strategy problems, decided to dramatically change their approach and treat data as a vital tool to inform future planning. Read on to see the changes that they implemented to increase program impact. 


Giving Like Michael Bloomberg – Find One Small Thing (NYTimes)—What are some of the key takeaways from a philanthropist who has given 4.3 billion away to date? Bloomberg advocates for thinking locally, embracing seemingly small changes with big impact, and working with others.


“Pay What It Takes Philanthropy” (SSIR)—Read this for a breakdown of a new, flexible approach to philanthropy, which takes into account the consequences of underfunding overhead costs and the real costs of operating and sustaining an effective nonprofit.  

Racial Equity: 

Three Steps Foundations Should Take to Address Racial Equity” (National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy)—How can foundations make sure that their words become actions in supporting black communities? Read on for ways to self-examine your grantmaking processes, extend resources, and lead others in taking steps forward to advance racial justice. 


The 50 Most Segregated School Borders in America” (NPREd)—How much difference can a few miles make in terms of educational quality in America? EdBuild's new report and data visualization, "Fault Lines," analyzed 33,500 school district lines and compared them, based on childhood poverty rates, to identify the top 50 most segregated school borders in the country. 

Finally, is your organization drowning in data? Check out our most recent newsletter for Stephen Pratt’s thoughts on what to do about it (and sign up here for more insights from our monthly newsletter).