Team Rubicon

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Team Rubicon
Team Rubicon
FormationJanuary 12, 2010; 13 years ago (2010-01-12)
FounderWilliam McNulty
Jacob "Jake" Wood
Founded atEl Segundo, California U.S.
TypeNon-governmental organization (NGO)
Legal statuscharity
PurposeTeam Rubicon serves communities by mobilizing veterans to continue their service, leveraging their skills and experience to help people prepare, respond, and recover from disasters and humanitarian crises.
HeadquartersLos Angeles, California U.S.
  • Worldwide
Area served
ServicesDisaster relief
Veteran integration
Art delaCruz
Jake Wood in Haiti in 2010 on first Team Rubicon operation
Palantir mapping screenshot during Hurricane Sandy operation on the Rockaways
Palantir HQ on green school bus during Hurricane Sandy operation on the Rockaways
Team Rubicon Medic

Team Rubicon is an international non-government organization (NGO) specializing in disaster response.


Team Rubicon was formed in January 2010 following the Haiti earthquake, when William McNulty and Jacob "Jake" Wood[1][2] led a medical team into Port-au-Prince three days after the earthquake. The first Team Rubicon was an initial team of eight. They gathered funds and medical supplies from friends and family and flew into the Dominican Republic. They rented a truck, loaded their gear, and headed west to Haiti. The team treated thousands of patients, traveling to camps deemed “too dangerous” by other aid organizations. They ventured outside the traditional scale of disaster response, focusing on those who would be overlooked and left untreated.[3][4]

That experience was the beginning of Team Rubicon.[5] Team Rubicon wanted to solve two problems: (1) Inadequate disaster response which is often slow to respond, has an antiquated infrastructure and is not using the best technological solutions or well-trained members, and (2) inadequate veteran reintegration into civilian life. Military veterans' training, skills, and experience make them well suited to disaster response while helping others can promote healing and community to alleviate some of the reintegration issues that drive a high suicide rate among veterans.[1]

The death of fellow Rubicon member Clay Hunt from suicide redoubled Team Rubicon's organizational mission towards veteran reintegration. The team's role in domestic disasters is both to provide humanitarian assistance and to provide veterans an opportunity to continue to serve.[1][6]

The name "Rubicon" is from the phrase "crossing the Rubicon," an idiom to mean passing a point of no return.[7] The red and dark brown logo is made up of a sideways cross, a traditional symbol of first aid but here on its side as a departure from the traditional, with a river running through the logo, as a symbol of the gap between disasters and disaster relief.

Wood and his work with Team Rubicon were profiled alongside fellow vet Eric Greitens and The Mission Continues founder as the subject of Time columnist Joe Klein's 2015 book, Charlie Mike.[8][9]

J.J. Watt, defensive end for the Houston Texans, raised an unexpected $37 million towards the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts,[10] and so consulted SBP, a disaster relief organization based in New Orleans, and Team Rubicon for how to best spend the funds.[11]

Scope of work[edit]

Since the Haiti earthquake, Team Rubicon has deployed on over 500 operations including international operations in Pakistan (2010 Pakistan floods), Chile (2010 Chile tsunami), Burma (2010 Thai-Burma border conflict), Sudan, Ecuador, Nepal, Greece, and Turkey and Hurricane Dorian[12] in the Bahamas.

Domestically, Team Rubicon has responded to large-scale disasters such as Hurricane Matthew, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Debby, Hurricane Isaac, Hurricane Sandy,[13] the tornado destruction of Moore, Oklahoma.,[14][15] Hurricane Maria,[16] Hurricane Florence,[17] and Hurricane Michael.[18] In 2019, Team Rubicon's Operation Heartlander responded to Winter Storm Ulmer that caused widespread damage across the American Midwest and provided assistance in eastern Nebraska,[19] western Iowa,[20] and on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.[21]

Many of Team Rubicon's hundreds of responses are to more localized disasters such as catastrophic snowstorms,[22] smaller tornadoes,[23] and flooding.[24][25]

With the onset of the COVID-19 epidemic, Team Rubicon USA expanded its operational focus to include feeding programs in conjunction with Food Lifeline and Feeding America and Meals on Wheels and to take individual initiative, called "Neighbors Helping Neighbors", to safely assist their fellow community members.[26]

Team Rubicon also conducts wildfire mitigation operations that both serve as training opportunities and help protect vulnerable communities by removing potential fuels.[27][28][29]

In 2018 Team Rubicon became the first NGO in North America to receive WHO Emergency Medical Team Type 1 Mobile certification.[30]


In 2013, General (Ret.) David Petraeus joined Team Rubicon's Board of Advisors.[31][32] Petraeus promoted the work of veteran reintegration, citing its importance to soldiers returning from war.[33]

Three years later, in 2016, civil rights expert Ehsan Zaffar joined the Board of Advisors.[34]

Additional high-profile advisors are General Stanley McChrystal, USA (Ret.) and former New York Stock Exchange CEO Duncan Niederauer, who serves on the board of directors.[3] General James T. Conway, USMC (Ret.) and Lt Gen Russel L. Honoré, USA (Ret.) as well as private sector business people Andy Bessette from Travelers Insurance, Jeff Dailey, CEO of Farmers Group, Gregg Lemkau from Goldman Sachs, John Pitts from Kirkland & Ellis, Richard Serino, former Deputy Administrator of FEMA, and Jeff Smith from FedEx serve as advisors to Team Rubicon. Many are former military or have logistical expertise that helps guide Team Rubicon.[35][36]

Additional high-profile supporters are former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.[37][38] The George W. Bush Center included Team Rubicon as one of the case studies in its research on veteran serving nonprofits (VSNP).[39][40]

In July 2021, Team Rubicon Cofounder and then-current CEO Jake Wood stepped into an Executive Chairman role. Jake left the CEO position and then-current COO Art delaCruz stepped into the CEO position."Team Rubicon Cofounder and CEO Jake Wood Steps into Executive Chairman Role and President and COO Art delaCruz Elevated to Chief Executive Officer".

Some international chapters of Team Rubicon were detached and re-organized into independent organizations with the same mission. For example, Team Rubicon's Norway chapter became "Response Norway".[41]


Team Rubicon is or has partnered with many US corporations to support its mission including (list is not complete):

Clay Hunt Fellows Program[edit]

The Clay Hunt Fellows Program is a leadership development fellowship created by Team Rubicon.[54] It is named after Clay Hunt, one of the original members of Team Rubicon who suffered from PTSD and depression and committed suicide in 2011.[55][56] It was founded in 2013 as a 12 month program, but has since been changed to a 6 month program.[57][58] On February 12, 2015, a veteran suicide prevention bill, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act or the Clay Hunt SAV "Suicide Prevention for American Veterans" Act, named in his honor, became law.[59][60]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 2011: GQ Foundation, Winner, Better Men Better World, Jake Wood[61]
  • 2012: CNN Hero, Jake Wood[62][63]
  • 2012: Classy Awards, National Small Charity of the Year[64]
  • 2012: Grinnell Prize[65][66]
  • 2012: Chase American Giving Awards, "Heroes and Leaders" National Award[67]
  • 2015: Presidential Leadership Scholar, William McNulty[38][68]
  • 2018 Pat Tillman Award for Courage at the ESPYs, Jake Wood [69]
  • 2018 Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award from the Big Ten Conference, Jake Wood[70]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Wood, Jake (December 2011). "A new mission for veterans – disaster relief". TEDxSanDiego.
  2. ^ "Ted Speaker Jake Wood, CEO, Team Rubicon". TED.
  3. ^ a b Dickman, Kyle (25 August 2016). "The Future of Disaster Relief Isn't the Red Cross". Outside.
  4. ^ "2012 Grinnell Prize: Jacob Wood and William McNulty, Team Rubicon" (Video). Grinnell College. 5 September 2012.
  5. ^ Klein, Joe (29 August 2011). "The New Greatest Generation". Time. 178 (8): 26–34. ISSN 0040-781X.
  6. ^ "Brothers in arms refocusing efforts – CNN Video". CNN. 30 March 2012.
  7. ^ Toner, Kathleen (29 March 2012). "In the worst calamities, these veterans rush to the rescue". CNN.
  8. ^ Klein, Joe (2015). Charlie Mike: A True Story of War and Finding the Way Home. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-451-67730-0. OCLC 908108575.
  9. ^ Colbert, Stephen; Greitens, Eric; Wood, Jake (26 November 2015). "Veterans Eric Greitens And Jake Wood Continue Serving" (Video interview). The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Archived from the original on 2021-12-15.
  10. ^ "Houston Flood Relief Fund - - Web". Retrieved 2017-09-06.
  11. ^ Peter, Josh. "Relief requires dollars, more sense". USA Today. p. 03c. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  12. ^ Fernandez, Henry (2019-09-03). "Hurricane Dorian brings 'nightmare' circumstances for response Team Rubicon". FOXBusiness. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  13. ^ Torgovnick May, Kate (6 November 2012). "Deploying veterans for disaster relief: A Q&A with Jake Wood of Team Rubicon". TED Blog.
  14. ^ Herbst, Diane (14 September 2015). "This non-profit utilizes veterans' skills for emergency response". New York Post.
  15. ^ Husock, Howard (10 September 2015). "Vets Who Still Serve: After Disasters, Team Rubicon Picks Up the Pieces". Forbes.
  16. ^ "Team Rubicon and Jack Link's team up to "Fuel The Front Lines"". Connecting Vets. 2018-06-01. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  17. ^ John, Basil (2018-10-04). "Team Rubicon helps with hurricane relief in Wilmington". WWAY TV. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  18. ^ Baker, Jarell. "Veterans volunteer to help with recovery". Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  19. ^ Holzfaster, Sydnie (2019-03-31). "Team Rubicon helps with flood clean up in Bellevue". KPTM. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  20. ^ "Pacific Junction Clean-up, Recovery Begin |". Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  21. ^ "Team Rubicon leads recovery efforts on Pine Ridge Reservation | Native Sun News Today". Native Sun News. 2019-04-24. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  22. ^ "Team Rubicon helping McKenzie Bridge recover after winter storm". KEZI News. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  23. ^ Smith, Bob (2018-12-26). "Team Rubicon enters the fight for battered residents". Kitsap Daily News. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  24. ^ "OKANOGAN FLOOD UPDATE". KOZI. 2018-05-22. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  25. ^ "National nonprofit sends helpers to the Valley". Retrieved 2020-03-03.
  26. ^ Toner, Kathleen. "Team Rubicon mobilizes veterans to serve their neighbors during Covid-19 pandemic". CNN. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  27. ^ "Mission Complete: Team Rubicon finishes first wildfire mitigation operation". Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  28. ^ Loutzenhiser, Janine (2019-04-09). "Veteran -Led Team Rubicon Assisting with Fire Mitigation". KEPR. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  29. ^ "Disaster Preparedness". Issuu. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  30. ^ "Team Rubicon USA becomes the first NGO in North America to earn the World Health Organization Emergency Medical Team Type 1 Mobile Verification". Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  31. ^ Goldberg, Eleanor (29 April 2013). "David Petraeus Volunteers With Team Rubicon, Mission Continues, Other Organizations To Help Vets Reintegrate". The Huffington Post.
  32. ^ Smith, Ben; Orley, Emily (28 April 2013). "General David Petraeus' New Campaign". BuzzFeed.
  33. ^ Perez, Rosie; Wallace, Nicolle; Petraeus, David; Tiglao, Lourdes; Rouse, Kristen (11 August 2015). "Team Rubicon Featured on The View" (Video). The View. Archived from the original on 2021-12-15.
  34. ^ "Get to Know Ehsan Zaffar on Our Board of Advisors". Team Rubicon. 15 September 2016.
  35. ^ O'Neill, Patrick (2 August 2016). "Get to Know Richard Serino on Team Rubicon's Board of Advisors". Team Rubicon.
  36. ^ DeVorak, Duane (21 August 2017). "Team Rubicon Appoints Four New Members to Its Advisory Board" (Press release). Team Rubicon.
  37. ^ Raddatz, Martha (23 February 2014). "President G.W. Bush and Jake Wood from Team Rubicon on ABC 2/23/14". This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Archived from the original on 2021-12-15.
  38. ^ a b Page, Susan (1 March 2015). "Presidents Bush and Clinton unite to train new leaders". USA Today.
  39. ^ "Case Studies on Veteran-Serving Non-Profit Organizations". Bush Center at George W. Bush Presidential Center. 1 October 2015.
  40. ^ Insights Informing the Concerns of Post-9/11 Veterans & Families. Case Study: Team Rubicon (PDF). Bush Center at George W. Bush Presidential Center. 1 October 2015.
  41. ^ "Eirik skal kjøre til Polen for å hente ukrainske flyktninger". Tidens krav (in Norwegian). 15 March 2022.
  42. ^ Molloy, Tim (9 May 2012). "Hollywood Unites Behind 'Got Your 6' Initiative for Veterans". TheWrap.
  43. ^ "Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort". Palantir Technologies. 2012.
  44. ^ Neu, Christopher (21 November 2012). "When Nerds Cross the Rubicon: How Military Veterans Are Revolutionizing Disaster Response Networks through Better Technology". TechChange.
  45. ^ Wood, Jake (4 June 2013). "A Story Of Accidental, World-Changing Collaboration". Palantir Technologies. Archived from the original (Video) on 2014-05-20.
  46. ^ "TWO TEAMS, ONE EMERGENCY RESPONSE MISSION: TEAM DEPOT AND TEAM RUBICON". The Home Depot. 2014-11-17. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  47. ^ Geist, Willie (2 August 2016). "How Tough Mudder, Team Rubicon build bonds among vets and first responders" (Video). The Today Show.
  48. ^ Link, Jack. "Jack Link's Joins Forces With Team Rubicon To Rebuild Lives And Restore Communities In Need". Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  49. ^ "PepsiCo Pledges $1 Million to No Kid Hungry And Encourages People to #GiveMealsGiveHope in a Collective Effort to Fight Child Food Insecurity Amid COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond". PepsiCo, Inc. Official Website. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  50. ^ Booth, J. D. (2018-06-28). "Carhartt to work with Team Rubicon to help disaster victims get back to work". Corp! Magazine. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  51. ^ Merrell. "Merrell Work Joins Forces With Team Rubicon". Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  52. ^ "Guardian Life Backs Veteran-Led Vaccination Distribution Drive". 11 March 2021.
  53. ^ "Guardian Life Enters Partnership with Team Rubicon". 11 March 2021.
  54. ^ "Clay Hunt Fellowship Program". Team Rubicon.
  55. ^ Pitts, Byron (3 March 2012). "The life and death of Clay Hunt" (Transcript). 60 Minutes. CBS News.
  56. ^ Pitts, Clay (3 March 2012). "The Life and Death of Clay Hunt" (Video). 60 Minutes. CBS. Archived from the original on 2021-12-15.
  57. ^ "Team Rubicon Announces First Class of Clay Hunt Fellows Program" (Press release). Team Rubicon. 19 December 2013.
  58. ^ Gilbert, Danielle (2019-10-10). "Big News From the Clay Hunt Fellows Program". Team Rubicon. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  59. ^ "H.R.203 – Clay Hunt SAV Act 114th Congress (2015–2016)". 12 October 2012.
  60. ^ Brayton, Jenn (12 February 2015). "The Clay Hunt Act: What the President Just Signed" (Includes video of ceremony).
  61. ^ "GQ Names Former Marine Winner in 2011 Better Men Better World Search" (Press release). GQ. 26 October 2011.
  62. ^ "This Year's Heroes: Jake Wood, Community Crusader". CNN Heroes. March 2012.
  63. ^ "CNN Hero: Jake Wood" (video). CNN. March 2012.
  64. ^ "Classy Awards winners". The San Diego Union-Tribune. 24 September 2012.
  65. ^ "2012: Jacob Wood and William McNulty". Grinnell College. 2012.
  66. ^ Drake, George; Wood, Jacob; McNulty, William (14 May 2013). "Jacob Wood and William McNulty: Team Rubicon – Military Veterans and Emergency Response" (Video). Grinnell College. Archived from the original on 2021-12-15.
  67. ^ "More Than Me Foundation Wins $1 Million Chase Donation at the Second Annual American Giving Awards on NBC (NYSE:JPM)" (Press release). JPMorgan Chase. 10 December 2012.
  68. ^ "William McNulty, Co-Founder and CEO, Team Rubicon Global, Class of 2015". Presidential Leadership Scholars. 7 July 2015.
  69. ^ Radcliffe, J. R. "Former Wisconsin football player Jake Wood to get Pat Tillman Award for Courage at ESPYs". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved 2020-05-16.
  70. ^ "Post-football efforts earn 2 Big Ten honors | Sports | Journal Gazette". Retrieved 2020-05-16.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]