When Hurricane Harvey made landfall on Aug. 25, COL William Salter (Ret.) was among the first volunteers on the scene. One of more than 300 Team Rubicon “Greyshirts” to arrive in the first days after the hurricane hit, he helped organize and conduct more than 4,300 drive-by damage assessments for Harris County, TX, while other Greyshirts tackled hundreds of requests for assistance.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Gulf of Mexico, Team Rubicon volunteers were lining up rescue boats, generators, tools and key personnel in preparation for Hurricane Irma.
Team Rubicon is a unique nonprofit with two symbiotic missions. One, they bring the leadership, discipline, teamwork and resourcefulness these veterans learned in the military to the challenge of disaster response. Two, they provide support and a sense of purpose for military veterans who, now in civilian life, wish to continue to serve their community.
In disaster zones, speed and logistics are critical. Volunteers and employees are in a constant state of ready, so they arrive on the scene with personal protection equipment, hand tools, solar-powered generators—whatever it takes to function as a self-contained unit.
Finance can also be a challenge. Supply needs and costs are unpredictable and there may be no time to wire money, cut purchase orders or even safeguard a receipt. That’s why Team Rubicon’s director of finance, Dipali Mehta, relies primarily on PEX to fund disaster relief teams in the United States.
PEX combines the robust platform of an industry-leading expense management solution with the convenience and portability of prepaid cards. Dipali can check, deploy and redeploy funds without leaving the platform.
When COL Salter (Ret.) was deployed to serve as Team Rubicon’s Incident Commander in the hard-hit community of Wharton, TX, he was issued a temporary PEX Visa® Prepaid Card to help stand up operations in the town without delay. This allowed him to ensure supplies, fuel, food, and lodging needs were ready prior to dozens of volunteers arriving.
PEX also helps Team Rubicon meet the fiduciary responsibility to collect receipts and account for every penny it spends. A pocket full of receipts may not survive very long in a disaster zone. But a smartphone-taken photo of the receipt, once submitted to the PEX platform, can survive just about anything. (PEX has its own failovers and disaster recovery mechanisms in place.)
In fact, PEX systems automatically allocate the purchase to the appropriate budgets and grants, helping Dipali and Team Rubicon demonstrate compliance with IRS regulations for nonprofits.
Since 2010, there have been hundreds of natural disasters in the United States, thousands around the world. And 60,000 Team Rubicon volunteers, both working in the field and providing support at home, stand ready to help.
We at PEX are proud of our small contribution to their important work. And we hope you’ll make yours. To learn more, please visit teamrubiconusa.org.