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Nonprofit Profile , Rescue Task Force

Gary Becks, president and founder


Mission of organization: We respond rapidly with medical and other immediate aid to victims of man-made and natural disasters worldwide, while providing support and services to wounded GIs.

Telephone: (619) 328-6511.

Web site: www.rescuetaskforce.org.

Founded: 1988.

Milestone: Awarded Charity Navigator’s four-star rating for efficiency in April.

Annual income: $7 million in 2006, including in-kind donations.

Expense allocation: Functional allocation.

Corporate support: 20 percent of cash income.

Sampling of corporate supporters: BAE Systems, Continental Airlines, North Island Credit Union, San Diego Scottish Rite Com & #173;munity Foundation and the SoCo Group.

Board chairman: John E. Linehan.

Board members: Robert Schroeder, W. Foster Rich, Lynn LaSuer, Mary Carlson, Lawrence Cutting, Jimmy Valentine, Robin Shidler.

Employees: Three.

Volunteers: We have local volunteer country coordinators in the United States, Honduras, El Salvador, Afghanistan and Cambodia.

Wish list: Increased corporate-level funds and general support funds.


Recent challenges: Transporting 50 fragile ceramic water filters from the capital of Honduras to jungle villages, and moving medical patients from those villages to urban hospitals for surgeries. Expanding our literacy centers for women in Afghanistan to include job training, such as tailoring.

Measures of success: Four-star (highest) rating from Charity Navigator for financial management.

Smartest move: Marrying my wife. We met in Thailand while I was there working the Tsunami.

Missed opportunity: Hopefully, none.

Misconception: Our financial statements show income in the millions of dollars so many donors and potential donors feel that we might not need help.


Personal path to nonprofit work: Navy Corps man serving with the Marines in Vietnam led me into the fire department after military service. Emergency Medical Services training led to doing volunteer work in Central America and Afghanistan in the late 1980s. That volunteer service led to the founding of Rescue Task Force.

Toughest aspect: Fund raising. Shortages of unrestricted funds leads to the other No. 1 toughest aspect: Having to say no to those who need help.

Most surprising aspect: When I prepare our year-end report I am amazed at what has been accomplished and the number of lives touched by our small organization. Hundreds of Hazara, or Mongol, women in Afghanistan are learning to read and write.

Biggest pain: Fund raising.

Greatest pleasure: Fund spending , delivering donations to project sites and doing such things as building clinic facilities in villages that have (rarely) had contact (with the outside world).


Best recent moments: The invitation to expand our wounded military support Back Pack project to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Worst recent moment: On June 1, torrential rains swept through Berlin, El Salvador, causing considerable death and destruction. We were able to wire-transfer money to our local volunteer coordinator, but we were financially unable to respond with a full-on relief team. This was especially painful in that six weeks ago we were in that community distributing more than 500 wheelchairs to the disabled.

Dream for another life: More of the same.

Greatest inspiration: My daughter, Andrea Stone, who grew up in Rescue Task Force and is now our executive officer.

Downtime: Reading, woodworking, planning the next mission.

Causes: Support of those in need both at home and abroad.

Most like to meet: More of the brave military men and women who fight for this country.

, Compiled by Stacey Bengtson


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