About Rooted School

Our Mission

Rooted School’s mission is to rapidly reduce America’s wealth gap by connecting underserved and talented teenagers with career and financial pathways.


of college-bound graduates are first in their family to go to college

1 in 4

graduates earn 4+ industry training credentials


in merit scholarships and grants earned by 2021 Rooted School graduates


yearly wage of Green Balloon Fellows right out of high school


of graduates choose a college or jobs-related path

1 in 4 graduates

earn 4+ industry training credentials

The Future of Rooted School

We’ve laid the groundwork—and we’re just getting started

Since 2014, the Rooted School Foundation has fought to reduce America’s racial wealth gap by developing the roots of career and financial stability among underserved students through innovative approaches to education. Our goal is to accelerate upward mobility and lift children out of poverty by getting youth into good jobs sooner in their lives, providing the skills and resources needed for our high school students to achieve career and collegiate success. 

We’ve achieved great things since our founding, and we have a lot more planned in the coming years. By 2024, we aim to open 2–3 additional schools in new cities, to grow the Green Balloon Fellowship to at least 2 regions supporting 50 fellows total, and to expand the Youth Cash Transfer Study to 230+ students in New Orleans and Indianapolis.


May 6

2014 – Rooted School Foundation created

May 11

2015 – New Orleans charter approved

October 18

Fall 2017 – Rooted School New Orleans opened

After piloting within a high school, the first official Rooted School was opened, receiving a school letter grade of B after the first year.
May 15

2019 – Indianapolis charter approved

January 1

2020 – Youth Cash Transfer pilot launched

This first-of-its-kind program provides $50 in cash directly to participating Rooted School students every week for one year.
October 21

Fall 2020 – Rooted School Indianapolis opened

December 16

Winter 2020 – Vancouver, WA charter approved

January 1

2021 – Green Balloon Fellowship Pilot 1

This first-of-its-kind fellowship connects Rooted School graduates to jobs with pioneering companies in their local regions.
January 1

2022 – Green Balloon Fellowship Pilot 2

Second pilot of the Green Balloon Fellowship program.
April 1

Spring 2022 – Clark County charter submitted

September 29

Fall 2023 – Rooted School Vancouver to open

October 1

Fall 2023 – Rooted School Clark County to open

Our Team

Jonathan Johnson, Founder and CEO

Jonathan Johnson is the Founder and CEO of Rooted School Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to rapidly reduce America’s racial wealth gap by connecting underserved and talented teenagers with career and financial pathways.

He’s received numerous industry accolades for his work, including being nationally lauded as a “Change-Maker” by The 74. He received the Fishman Prize for Excellence in Teaching and was recognized as being among the one percent of entrepreneurs in the world by Echoing Green. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s “The Giving Pledge” campaign recognized Jonathan as one of the country’s most innovative school builders. Jonathan is also a member of the New Orleans Workforce Leadership Academy, Class of 2019, part of the Economic Opportunity Fellows Network run by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program.

Before founding the Rooted School Foundation, he taught for Teach For America in New Orleans and spent 4 years as an 8th-grade teacher for KIPP Central City Academy. He received his B.A. in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Chapman University.

Our Board of Directors

Our Foundation Team

Regional Executive Directors and Board Chairs

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