About Rooted School

Our Mission

Rooted School Foundation exists to reimagine the role schools play in providing students, especially those impacted by systemic racism, with personal pathways to financial freedom and then scaling those opportunities.


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


of graduates earn at least 1 industry recognized credential each year


students participate in The $50 Study – the largest guaranteed income study with teens


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 recognized 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 2026, we aim to open 2–3 additional schools in new cities, to grow the Green Balloon Fellowship to at least 2 regions supporting 20 fellows total, and to expand The $50 Study to 1000+ students annually. 


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.

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.

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.

2022 – Green Balloon Fellowship Pilot 2

Second pilot of the Green Balloon Fellowship program.

Our Team

Jonathan Johnson, Founder and CEO

Jonathan Johnson is the founder and CEO of Rooted School Foundation. Rooted School is a non-profit network of four schools across four states and other projects focused on increasing upward mobility for youth faster than local projections. Prior to his current role, Jonathan founded Rooted School New Orleans, a 9th-12th grade public charter high school located in New Orleans, Louisiana that provides its students a chance to earn a college acceptance in one hand and an entry-level career job offer in the other. Rooted School has been recognized by organizations like the Center for Reinventing Public Education and Transcend Education as one of the most innovative public school models in the U.S. Jonathan also manages “The $50 Study” in partnership with The University of Tennessee–Knoxville, The Center for Guaranteed Income, and school partners which is the first, only, and most extensive randomized control trial exploring the impact of direct cash transfers to youth using schools as the disbursement vehicle. Also an Aspen Economic Opportunity Program Fellow, Jonathan began his teaching career at KIPP Central Academy in New Orleans as an 8th Grade Social Studies Teacher. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from Chapman University in Religious Studies and in his spare time, Jonathan enjoys skiing, winemaking, and cooking.

Our Board of Directors

Our Foundation Team

Regional Executive Directors and Board Chairs

Every moment is a chance to build your reputation

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