Picture it: It’s early October 2016…

Haiti had just been devastated by Hurricane Matthew.

Over the next several days, the death toll increased to 900.

By the end of the month, over 1.2 million Haitians were in desperate need of food assistance.

Less than 24 hours after the last storm clouds had parted—while other relief organizations around the world were still making the necessary preparations to provide much-needed disaster relief—a sea of “grey shirts” were already on the ground.

Wouldn’t you like to know who quickly sprang into action and led volunteer forces to clear away debris, care for displaced citizens, and rebuild communities of thousands?

Enter Team Rubicon.

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Team Rubicon members hard at work. Source: Team Rubicon Global.

What is Team Rubicon Global?

Team Rubicon is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to disaster response, which unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders and medical professionals to rapidly deploy emergency response teams.

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Team Rubicon member on his way to work for the day in Haiti.
Source: Team Rubicon Global

History

To date, Giving Assistant’s generous community of shoppers and donors has raised $18,437.45 in donations for Team Rubicon!

Team Rubicon formed in the wake of the devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake that rocked Haiti on January 10, 2010. Thousands of residents were injured, buildings and infrastructure were obliterated, and countless families found themselves homeless.

Upon seeing coverage of the earthquake’s destruction, two Marines, Jake Wood and William McNulty, made the decision to “do something” (and to do it right away).

Jake and William quickly gathered supplies and enlisted a small group of military veterans who joined first responders and medical professionals deployed at Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The small group zeroed in on populations that traditional aid organizations often overlooked.

With years of military service between the lot, the founding members put their medical and leadership skills to good use and provided thousands of Haiti Earthquake survivors with much-needed supplies and humanitarian aid.

This initial operation gave way to Team Rubicon, a passionate nonprofit committed to helping underserved communities rebuild after a disaster.

Team Rubicon Members, referred to as “Greyshirts,” are the pulse of the organization.

Volunteers who complete their training are presented with an official Team Rubicon T-shirt in grey with their names embroidered on it. It’s a rite of passage that’s worn with pride.

At the time of this writing, Team Rubicon has over 108,000 total Greyshirts helping survivors of floods, tornados, wildfires, hurricanes, and other life-threatening crises across the globe, with 200 new volunteers joining the fold on average per week.

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Team Rubicon members wading through a stream in Haiti. Source: Team Rubicon Global

Project Examples

“Disasters are our business. Veterans are our passion.”

Every year, communities across the United States and the world face the aftermath of a natural disaster that causes widespread damage and devastates the most vulnerable.

Team Rubicon does more than just provide rapid-response disaster relief.

By mobilizing veterans on behalf of jolted communities, Team Rubicon seeks to “bridge the gap between returning veterans and their home communities.”

They deliver support to veterans by providing them with an increased sense of purpose and identity at home, which the organization accomplishes through programs such as:

1) Puerto Rico Roof and Home Building Project

In response to post-Maria Puerto Rico, Team Rubicon not only rebuilt homes in heavily-impacted neighborhoods but also hired local contractors to repair and replace roofs in some of the lowest-income communities.

The benefits are twofold: 

  • Hiring local construction crews expedites families’ recovery and decreases the amount of continual damage from subsequent rainstorms
  • Hiring local workers also puts cash back into Puerto Rico’s economy.

2) Nonprofit Partnerships to Provide Maximum Relief

Team Rubicon joins forces with other organizations, like Hope for Haiti, to develop partnerships that add value to their overall response.

While Hope for Haiti provided translators, in-country advice, and essential local information to responders on the ground, Team Rubicon set up shop to strengthen the relief operation’s efforts with technology, materials, and trained builders and chainsaw operators.

As a result, areas in Haiti were rebuilt.

Impact and Future Plans

Team Rubicon currently maintains a roster of over 90,000 committed volunteers—a figure the nonprofit proudly reached in 2018. That same year, the organization conducted a record 90 recovery- and humanitarian responses across the world.

The Greyshirts have completed operations in over 20 countries, and since their notable response to the 2017 hurricane season, Team Rubicon’s volunteer numbers and impact skyrocketed, as seen in the following accomplishments:

  • The Greyshirts constructed hurricane-resilient roofs that protected over 500 families in Puerto Rico when Hurricane Dorian passed by in 2019.
  • The response for Hurricane Michael (the largest of its kind to hit Florida) involved 1,155 Team Rubicon volunteers, which completed 549 work orders.
  • In August 2019, Team Rubicon celebrated rebuilding their fiftieth home damaged by Hurricane Harvey in Houston, which is the halfway-mark to meeting their project goal.

Team Rubicon continues to build upon unique partnerships, which play a significant role in carrying out long-term recovery programs, as seen in their 24-month timeline to intensify their support to residents affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Their extended timeline includes reaching the following goals in 2020:

  • rebuild 100 homes affected by Harvey in Houston
  • restore 30 rooms and roofs affected by Irma in Florida
  • expand their roof building program in Puerto Rico following Maria

How to Donate

To learn how to use Giving Assistant to easily donate a portion or all of your cash back to Team Rubicon, visit their fundraising page.

  1. First, sign up for a Giving Assistant account.
  2. Select Team Rubicon on your Giving Assistant account settings menu.
  3. Choose how much of your balance from cash-back rewards you’d like to donate.
  4. Then next time you shop using Giving Assistant and earn cash back, you’ll automatically donate your set percentage to Team Rubicon.

Giving Assistant members interested in donating to Team Rubicon can choose just a portion (or all!) of their cash back earnings to go to Team Rubicon.

If you need more help, you can see how to use Giving Assistant to shop online and donate to a nonprofit here.

If you haven’t already, you should also download the Giving Assistant button cash back extension for your desktop browser.

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This will help you to start easily support the Team Rubicon nonprofit AND save money on everyday online purchases at thousands of your favorite retailers.

Not a member yet? Sign up here to start supporting Team Rubicon as you shop online.

If you’d like to learn more about Team Rubicon and see their latest disaster relief efforts, visit https://teamrubiconusa.org/.