Built to Serve: A New Tagline and Mission Statement to Carry Us Forward

Since 2010, a lot of things have changed for Team Rubicon. What started as a small group in Haiti has grown into a professional volunteer force of more than 100,000. We’ve adopted the incident command system to better plug in and support in the immediate aftermath of disasters. We were the first North American NGO verified as a Medical Emergency Team Type 1 Mobile by the World Health Organization. Our scope of services has grown beyond response and expanded into disaster mitigation, recovery, and rebuild.

But our mission and focus has remained constant: to leverage the determination, skills, and experience of our military veterans, rally them with other committed volunteers, and mobilize them to serve communities in the darkest days after a disaster or humanitarian crisis.

What’s New

Entering Team Rubicon’s tenth year, it was time for us to recommit to the values that have brought us where we are today, and to help solidify the trajectory and future goals of our organization.

As we set out to design a new mission statement, we workshopped with volunteers, the board of directors, staff, volunteer leaders, and donors. We honed in on four major objectives for the new mission statement:

  1. Put survivors first.
  2. Reaffirm TR’s identity as a veteran-led organization.
  3. Create brand permission for TR to take on new missions and renew its commitment to international and humanitarian operations.
  4. Codify brand elements that have crystallized organically over the years.

With these as our guide, we built Team Rubicon’s new mission statement:

Team 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.

Our new mission statement better encapsulates all the work and services we currently provide to communities affected by disaster, while providing us the flexibility to take on new scopes or capabilities down the road.

What Hasn’t Changed

Nothing has changed with respect to who can serve. TR will continue to unite the skills and experience of military veterans, first responders, medical professionals, kickass civilians, and anyone else committed to putting service above self to help people affected by disasters and humanitarian crises. The mission statement’s focus on veterans simply serves to place maximum focus on the thing that makes TR unique among other all other disaster response organizations.

And while the mission statement is a formal and valuable component of our messaging and brand overall, it does not circumscribe the rest of our messaging: we will continue to highlight the contributions of anyone and everyone who steps up to serve with TR.

We continue to have one mission that delivers dual impact. The impact TR provides is for both the survivors of disasters and humanitarian crises, as well as the veteran and civilian volunteers who find purpose, community, and identity through service to others.

This isn’t the first time we’ve evolved our mission statement over the years. We’ve adjusted our mission statement and tagline (as well as other components of our messaging and brand) several times to keep pace with, and to help foster, the growth of the organization.


One More Thing

We’re also retiring our current brand tagline, “Disasters are our business. Veterans are our passion.” Our new official tagline is:


The best taglines are concise, memorable, and creative. Built to Serve provides some really interesting and creative ways to interact with Team Rubicon’s brand:

  • The use of the word “Built” in our tagline has positive connotations that help people key into the overall concept of Team Rubicon, e.g.:
  • We, as individuals and as an organization, are purpose-built for what we do. It is inherent.
  • Lasting institutions are built
  • Individual and team skills are built
  • Missions are purpose-built to achieve a goal
  • The use of the word “Serve” also has positive connotations that help people key into the cultural DNA of Team Rubicon, e.g.:
  • Service defines what sets Team Rubicon members apart. Their lives are dictated by it—whether through military service, civil service, or volunteer service.

Many of you will have seen us using this in different ways since we first put it into rotation for recruiting ad campaigns in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. “Disasters are our Business…” will still stick around as a brand phrase, so you won’t be “incorrect” if you continue to use it when describing TR.

You’ll start seeing the new mission statement and tagline out in the wild in the next few weeks. We’re excited to using these tools to continue making Team Rubicon a household name, and raising awareness of the kickass work you all do in the field or remote.

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