Rob Acton is Principal and Founder of Cause Strategy Partners, LLC, a consulting social enterprise that provides strategic counsel and high-impact programming to foundations, companies and social good organizations with a specialized focus on building both board and executive leadership. Cause Strategy Partners has extensive experience partnering with local, regional and national foundations; Fortune 500 corporate foundations and CSR; and nonprofit boards of directors, chief executives and staff leaders. Cause Strategy Partners is a Certified B Corporation, a global community of more than 1,700 companies across 60 industries doing business in the social good. Certified B Corporations meet rigorous standards of performance, accountability, and transparency. In 2015, Cause Strategy Partners was named an Inaugural Honoree of the Best For NYC Award for demonstrated business commitment to serving our community.
Rob has more than two decades of experience founding, leading and scaling social good organizations as both a nonprofit chief executive and board leader. He has provided strategic counsel and consulting to numerous Fortune 500 and leading philanthropic foundations. For the last ten years, Rob has frequently written, taught and presented on the topics of board service, nonprofit leadership, and social impact.
In 2011, Rob was appointed Executive Director of Taproot Foundation in New York City and served as interim leader of the foundation’s work in Chicago in 2014, as well. Rob led the organization’s strategic effort to build a multi-million dollar pro bono marketplace in New York City. During his four-year tenure, revenue more than doubled and the number of nonprofit organizations served grew 220%.
Prior to Taproot, Rob led Cabrini Green Legal Aid (CGLA) in Chicago. During his seven year tenure as executive director, CGLA grew substantially in size, reputation and community impact, expanding ten-fold the number of indigent clients served, adding policy work as a key aspect of its programs, tripling the agency’s annual revenue, scaling pro bono legal service, and doubling the organization’s staff. Under Rob’s leadership, CGLA received Chicago’s prestigious Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence.
Training others to lead effectively is one of Rob’s passions. He has served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University College of Law and North Park University in Chicago. He is a frequent presenter with the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management and was on the design team of the Center’s New Nonprofit CEO Boot Camp. Since its inception, Rob has led a highly regarded session to help new nonprofit CEOs overcome the early challenges of nonprofit leadership. He presents regularly at conferences around the country.
Rob currently serves as Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Development Committee of the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York, an organization representing and serving 1,500 member nonprofit organizations in the New York City region. He also serves on the Board Governance Committee of the NYC Anti-Violence Project. Previously, he was a founding Board member of Illinois Legal Aid Online, served on the Advisory Board of the Axelson Center for Nonprofit Management, and served on the Board of Trustees of Spring Arbor University. He was appointed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and confirmed by the Senate to serve on a state commission investigating police abuse.
Rob is a member of the Bar of the State of New York. He attended Michigan public schools, Spring Arbor University & Brooklyn Law School. Rob’s causes: second chances for ex-offenders, nonprofit capacity building, and access to the arts.