The ROOT Center
Take a 150-year-old successful behavioral health care organization. A pillar of the Connecticut ecosystem. Add a renewed focus on purpose and what do you get? A thriving organization that is succeeding beyond all precedents, able to support other non-profits on their own journey. That’s next level success. That’s the Root Center at its deepest.

Growing Beyond Limits

Root Center for Advanced Recovery is a private, nonprofit, behavioral health care organization providing mental health and substance use prevention, treatment, community health services, and research. Formerly known as the Hartford Dispensary, established in 1871, the organization is one of Connecticut’s oldest nonprofit agencies, providing addiction treatment.

In February 2017, Steven Zuckerman joined the team as Chief Executive Officer and President. It was immediately clear to Steven that the original organizational name (Hartford Dispensary) and brand was inaccurate and self-limiting, in that the agency did far more than “dispense” and had locations across the state, not just in the greater Hartford area.

Literally, within the first three days of Steven’s tenure, Fathom received his call. A bold, purposeful vision was needed in order to align with the evolving mission of the Hartford Dispensary. The organization’s identity needed to evolve, and the narrative, values, and voice needed to evolve with it.

ROOT Center New Britain Grand Opening

Fathom’s Recommendation

A clear identity will present the messages and values that are core to a brand without confusion. It will also communicate the organization’s solutions to the public, while reinforcing the necessary trust, credibility, and expertise.

Clients who embark on a Transform Journey with Fathom find themselves leading a Purpose-driven organization that not only outperforms its history and even its industry – but generates the fulfillment that comes from conveying the meaning of an organization’s work in a way that elevates how the organization matters to its team, clients, and community.


Approach & Outcomes

For many journeys, one of the most important first steps is to secure fuel to power your path forward. For the Root Center, this fuel came from declaring what the team saw was possible for the organization.

On September 8, 2017, Root and the Fathom team kicked off a Transform Journey (Fathom’s flagship offering) with Future Design Day. With the guidance of Fathom’s David Louden and Matt Reiniger, the Root Center’s leadership team created a bold vision for the future, a Purpose statement to define why the organization exists, and the prioritization of key steps on the path to making this vision a reality.

The resulting purpose statement and values would become the bedrock of how the Root Center would operate, lead, and assist in the world.



Root Center Purpose and Values

Our purpose is to create relationships that empower the courage and ability to change.

Our values: Honor the power in everyone | Renew ourselves to share our strength | Embrace new perspectives | Progress is the destination.



One of the priorities identified was the importance of repositioning Root Center as much more than its legacy as a methadone clinic by highlighting the organization’s multi-faceted approach to providing behavioral and mental health services. Everything needed to be updated to reflect this truth. All branding, the organization’s name, color scheme, logo, signage, office space, and so much more. All rooted in the refreshed purpose and vision for the future.

“Within any metamorphosis it’s critical to start with a deep look at the vision and purpose around why we are here, and how we will continue to nurture the community we serve,” commented Root Center President/CEO Steven Zuckerman. Fathom’s help in crystalizing our vision, and their support, working side-by-side with our leadership team, has been essential to getting this work done. Now, we are free to live our purpose and values as much as anyone can. With the intention of continuing for another 150 years, and beyond.”

“The Root Center provides critical care to so many that need it – treating over 5,000 patients every day. It has been an honor to work with the Root team and to help them crystalize a new narrative and discover their refreshed brand and purpose,” remarked David Louden, Founding Partner at Fathom.

David continued: “It’s very rewarding to have been on this five-year Transform Journey with Root, seeing the positive impacts on their staff, their culture, and their visibility in the community. It’s all grown exponentially. Their workforce is more energized and ready to take on future challenges in the spirit of a purpose-driven organization and culture. I truly believe in the Purpose, vision and mission of Root Center – so much so that I joined their Board of Directors.”

The Root Center is well-positioned for a thriving future – in fact, that they are able to support other neighboring non-profit organizations with substantial donations. Amazing things happen when nonprofits support nonprofits! And Fathom continues working with Root Center, assisting in their brand and marketing efforts to this day.


Key Takeaways

  1. Organizations leading with Purpose will create a stronger reputation, brand affinity, and bottom-line results.
  2. Purpose and Values must be championed at the highest levels of leadership.
  3. A reinvigorated culture can improve almost every aspect of an organization, from employee satisfaction, to the bottom line.

At the core… Purpose provides the mindset and motivation to create what’s needed in your business.



Are you interested in redesigning your organization’s future? For those with big ambitions for the future of your company, engaging with Fathom means partnering with a trusted and expert guide that will be there every step of the way, provoking and translating bold thinking into equally bold results. Let’s talk.



About Root Center

Root Center for Advanced Recovery is a private, nonprofit, behavioral health care organization providing mental health and substance use prevention, treatment, community health services, and research. Originally established in 1871, the agency’s humble beginnings came in the form of an outpatient medical facility chartered specifically to provide medical services to the poor and indigent residing in the greater Hartford area. More information is available at

About Fathom

Fathom works with leaders to create organizations that perform beyond the benchmarks of what they’ve previously known to be possible, beyond their history and their industry. Our clients engage us to ignite visionary thinking, energize vital relationships, launch critical initiatives and ultimately, to transform into thriving purpose-driven organizations. 

Join Us
Join the Fathom community and get the best stuff sent right to your inbox. Just tell us what you’re interested in.

    Provoking our innate ability to create the future we want
    Learn More