About Root Cause

Andrew Wolk

Founder and CEO

Andrew Wolk is the founder and CEO of Root Cause. Widely recognized as a leading social innovator and a pioneering teacher of social entrepreneurship, Andrew is passionate about the use of data and evidence in education, employment and health to improve people’s lives. 

At Root Cause, Andrew has consulted to dozens of nonprofits, foundations, and governments on strategic business planning, financial sustainability, performance assessment, and measurement. Highlights include his longtime strategic partnerships with State Street Foundation, including managing their Boston Workforce Investment Network (Boston WINs), and with the Campaign for Black Male Achievement. In addition, Andrew has launched, incubated, and spun off two sustainable, independent nonprofits: Interise and Social Innovation Forum (SIF). Interise fuels economic growth in lower income communities through their established small businesses; since 2004, 2,100 small business owners have grown and expanded in over 36 communities nationwide with its help. SIF cultivates the visibility, networks, and capacity of promising early-stage Massachusetts nonprofits and for-profit impact entrepreneurs; since 2003, 85 organizations have gained over $22 million in cash and in-kind support SIF has directed.

Andrew’s numerous publications include “Social Entrepreneurship and Government: A New Breed of Entrepreneurs Developing Solutions to Social Problems” for the Small Business Administration, Advancing Social Entrepreneurship: Recommendations for Policy Makers and Government Agencies,” co-published with the Aspen Institute, and Root Cause’s Business Planning for Enduring Social Impact and Building a Performance Measurement System

Andrew designed and taught one of the nation’s first courses on social entrepreneurship. He has held positions as senior lecturer in social entrepreneurship at MIT and as Gleitsman Visiting Practitioner at Harvard Kennedy School. Andrew has served on boards for Social Enterprise Alliance and the Social Capitalist Awards. He helped establish the Boston chapter of Social Venture Partners and served on SVP’s international board. He holds an MBA in Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Management from Boston University and a BA from Lehigh University. Read Andrew’s blog writings and follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewWolk.

Speaking Engagements

Andrew speaks regularly at conferences nationwide on topics including: 
  • Performance Measurement 
  • Nonprofit Strategy and Sustainability 
  • Improving Performance and Life Outcomes 
  • Cross-Sector Collaboration
  • Scaling Impact


Interview: Drucker Institute: Monday* on “Win-Win-Win: Cross-Sector Collaboration Done Right,” in which Andrew shares three guideposts for successful cross-sector collaboration.

Panel discussion: “Scaled Impact through Movement Building: The Young Men of Color Movement,” (The panel begins at the 39:00 minute mark) at the Social Impact Exchange Annual Conference on Scaling Impact, with Shawn Dove of the Campaign for Black Male Achievement at Open Society Foundations and William J. Snipes of Pipeline Crisis/Winning Strategies and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. 


Philanthropy Hour, in which Andrew discusses the use of data and evidence to drive high performance, the importance of a focus on impact, and how to use data more effectively. 

Why do you do what you do?

I started Root Cause 10 years ago to combine the commitment to public service my grandfather had with the use of data and performance my father practiced into a simple premise—if we better allocate resources towards the performance of organizations pursuing social progress, we will see accelerated improvement in the lives of people across the country.

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  • Boston University, MBA, Entrepreneurship and Nonprofit Management. Lehigh University, BA.

Favorite Books, movies, music

  • There Will Be Blood, Brett Dennen, Singing in the Rain


  • Skiing, television and movie watching