Jake Wood, the former Marine sniper and co-founder of relief organization Team Rubicon, has caught the attention of the White House.
On Wednesday President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump announced they will donate a total of $1 million to 12 charitable organizations to aid relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey. Among the list, which included large national organizations, such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, was Woods' nonprofit NGO, which calls on ex-service people to put military training to good use in times of need.
Wood, who expects to dispatch more than 2,000 volunteers — almost all military veterans — to help storm-battered communities dig out, rebuild and stabilize from the epic storm that has displaced more than 1 million people, says his phone began buzzing on Aug. 21 and hasn't really stopped since.
The moment Hurricane Harvey hooked toward Texas, he knew he needed "many, many boots on the ground," he says. So far his organization has received about $4 million in funding and contributions as a result of Harvey. The Trumps have now donated another $25,000. Bankrolling the response effort will cost roughly the same.
Wood likes to say Team Rubicon's success is measured less by money raised and dollars expended than by "person-to-person engagement and lives changed," but he is also a true entrepreneur, having raised more than $41 million since launching the venture with a guerrilla-style relief trip to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Among Team Rubicon's board of advisors are retired generals Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus; as well as Gregg Lemkau, co-head of global mergers & acquisitions for Goldman Sachs; and Jeff Dailey, CEO of Farmers Group.