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Empowering Veterans with Wounded Warrior Project

Jake Wood

Jake is the co-founder and CEO of Team Rubicon. He honorably served four years in the United States Marine Corps, deploying to Iraq in 2007 and Afghanistan in 2008. He graduated Scout-Sniper School at the top of his class and in 2007, he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with “V” for actions in Iraq. Jake serves on numerous national veteran committees and speaks around the country about veteran issues and social entrepreneurship. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a double major, where he also played football.

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In light of the recent NY Times article regarding the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), I wanted to address any concerns or questions members and supporters may have about the future of Team Rubicon. 

First, let me say that it’s unfortunate that many great people at WWP have been embroiled in this controversy. I have personally met and worked with fantastic WWP employees over the years and I also know dozens of veterans who have benefited from their services. WWP does fantastic work -and that’s why we began partnering with them over two years ago. It was from WWP that we first discovered ASIST, or Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training, and began delivering it to our members. We also developed a program that ensured Team Rubicon assessment teams checked in on WWP alumni living in disaster zones to ensure they were okay.  

Unfortunately, this recent NY Times article infers that Team Rubicon’s solvency will be impacted by the firing of WWP’s CEO Steve Nardizzi and COO Al Giordano – this is misleading and simply false.  Team Rubicon did not receive any money from WWP in 2015, after receiving a small grant from them in 2014 (that grant amounted to 4% of our 2014 total income). Recently we signed a large, multi-year grant with WWP, though we have not yet begun receiving the money. While we have no doubt that WWP will be fully capable of meeting its pledge, in the instance that they cannot, Team Rubicon will continue to thrive. We ended 2015 in a very healthy financial position and are thrilled about the large national partnerships that we continue to establish.

Thirtyfour percent of our veteran members self-report as being WWP alumni, and we know that the services WWP provides are critical to their continued success as civilians.

For that reason we will continue to partner with WWP and ensure that our veteran members are well taken care of.

Finally, financial transparency is paramount to everything we do at Team Rubicon. As a growing organization fueled by philanthropic support we ensure that every dollar we spend has a purpose, that it is tracked, and that its impact on communities affected by disasters and our veteran volunteers is carefully measured. In 2015, we were able to deliver $7.04 worth of volunteer value for every $1 we spent on 38 disaster operations. We engaged thousands of our members through nearly 600 training and engagement events, and through all this activity, we are making our communities and our veterans more resilient. In that spirit of transparency, here are some resources to better understand where your money is going: