William McNulty is a U.S. Marine and the founder of Team Rubicon, a non-profit that recruits military veterans to provide disaster relief and humanitarian aid around the world.
McNulty created Team Rubicon out of his own desire to continue serving his country when his enlistment in the Marine Corps ended. After organizing a team of veterans to help with disaster response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, McNulty recognized that veterans’ skills offered a model for a disaster-response organization that would bridge the gap between the immediate aftermath of natural disasters and the arrival of large-scale relief from governments and big-aid organizations.
As the organization grew, McNulty also realized it could play a major role in veteran reintegration, easing the transition to civilian life by offering a sense of community, identity and purpose to war veterans. Today Team Rubicon has a volunteer army of 30,000, 75 percent of whom are military veterans who are helping themselves by helping others. McNulty also recently founded team Rubicon Global, which focuses on exporting the Team Rubicon model of disaster relief service and veteran reintegration to 12 countries around the world.
MuNulty’s vision for team Rubicon is innovative on two fronts: the nonprofit organization provides a new way of responding to natural disaster and a singular vision for veteran reintegration. Some 40,000 veteran service organizations are registered in the United States, but very few use the Team Rubicon model of enlisting veterans to serve others.
MuNulty holds a bachelor's degree in economics and communication studies from the University of Kansas and a master's degree in government from Johns Hopkins University.
By adapting a military ethos for emergency response, Team Rubicon fills a gap in the developed world’s well-meaning but frequently slow mobilization to reach people in desperate need. Team Rubicon's small teams deploy more quickly than large, bureaucratic aid organizations, often arriving within 24 hours of a major disaster, providing medical care and emergency support. In Haiti, for example, Team Rubicon’s “medial militia” was the only disaster relief organization still operating in Port-au-Prince six days after the earthquake struck, and they were able to restart a hospital emergency room closed by staff shortages.
To fill this important niche in global disaster response, Team Rubicon taps combat veteran’s unique ability to perform under pressure in stressful environments, giving them a positive outlet for these skills and providing a sense of military community, identity and purpose that is difficult to maintain while transitioning to civilian life. Team Rubicon also runs a robust training program that allows veterans to gain certifications in disaster response skills, which can lead to permanent employment in the field, and it provides a social network that keeps veterans in contact with each other while conducting service projects such as Habitat for Humanity builds.