Todd B. Rubin ’04 (School of Architecture) Supports Innovation, Diversity, and Inclusion through Gift to LaunchPad

Todd B. Rubin ’04 (School of Architecture), Minister of Evolution and President of The Republic of Tea, is making an impactful gift to Syracuse University to support innovation, diversity, and inclusion through a multi-year commitment to the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries (LaunchPad).  Personal gifts, along with a gift through his family’s Foundation, will support 18 student entrepreneurs this coming academic year.

There are three components to the gifts:

  • A personal gift to support eleven student entrepreneurs (Orange Ambassadors) with special financial needs to help facilitate continued access to a Syracuse education, particularly in light of the economic challenges and hardships many families are facing in the current pandemic;
  • A five-year personal commitment to support two student entrepreneurs annually from diverse backgrounds (Todd B. Rubin Diversity and Inclusion Scholars). They will work with the LaunchPad to broaden diversity and inclusion outreach and programming, expand participation in entrepreneurship by underrepresented groups, and support the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion;
  • A year-two commitment from The Rubin Family Foundation to fund five peer student entrepreneurs (Rubin Family Innovation Mentors) through the 2020-2021 academic year who will provide coaching to other student startups.

Applications are now open for Orange Ambassadors for the 2020-2021 academic year.  These will include student stipends for undergraduate students from any academic major with special financial needs, and they will help with LaunchPad outreach and programming for the coming year.  Students interested in these stipends should apply here on Handshake and submit a resume and cover letter explaining their financial need. 

Applications are also now open for Todd B. Rubin Diversity and Inclusion Scholars for the 2020-2021 academic year.  These will include student stipends for graduate or undergraduate students from any academic major to work with the LaunchPad on initiatives related to diversity, inclusion, and social justice.  Students interested in these positions should apply here on Handshake and submit a resume and cover letter explaining their interest and expertise in this topic. 

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through July, with selections announced before August 1.  Students applying should be members of the LaunchPad and can become a member online

“I am pleased to provide these student opportunities to address equity, diversity and inclusion, as well as to help entrepreneurial students offset financial needs in light of unprecedented national challenges,” said Rubin.  “The recent economic downturn has affected many families.  Some families have seen their jobs disappear or have been furloughed.  Many students have lost summer employment opportunities that they rely on to help pay for their education.  Student debt is an increasing burden.  At the same time, public conversations across the country have raised important issues around equity and access.  As an alumnus, I was very interested in helping address these issues, while supporting Syracuse University and entrepreneurial students engaged in the LaunchPad at SU Libraries. It is my hope that more Syracuse University students, from varied backgrounds and needs, will have access through these opportunities to the incredible resources at the LaunchPad to help them grow as innovators.”

“It has been wonderful to work with Todd and to see his enthusiasm for our students and their success.  The Libraries is so grateful to Todd for his continued support for Syracuse University’s innovation hub and for encouraging diversity and inclusion,” said David Seaman, Dean of Syracuse University Libraries and University Librarian.  “The LaunchPad is an incubation environment for students from 116 countries around the world to grow and flourish. It provides experiential opportunities for students to interact with a variety of people from different backgrounds, with different interests, from all the academic disciplines across campus. This type of learning significantly compliments what they learn in a classroom, helping them understand how to become thoughtful and engaged citizens and change-makers.”

“We are proud that the LaunchPad reflects the rich diversity of the global world,” said Linda Dickerson Hartsock, executive director.  “The LaunchPad promotes perspectives and solutions from our members who represent different national origins, languages, races, colors, disabilities, ethnicities, genders, ages, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, socioeconomic status, veteran status, and family structures.  Our core values are based on transcending differences, finding common ground, giving voice and power to all, and building a diverse and inclusive community that encourages collaboration, respect, and equity. This generous gift will enable us to expand upon that mission.”

The 2020-2021 gift from The Rubin Family Foundation, facilitated through Todd B. Rubin, will also support five students to serve as Rubin Family Innovation Mentors for the coming year.  This is the second year that The Rubin Family Foundation has supported the peer mentor program through the LaunchPad.  Applications are now open through this link to become a Rubin Family Innovation Mentor.  

Last year’s Rubin Family Innovation Mentors mentored more than 50 student teams, organized and ran Startup Weekend and Mentor Madness, prepared teams for campus, state and national competitions, and helped teams with research and discovery, team building, goal setting and achieving milestones. Along the way, Rubin Family Innovation Mentors also continued to build their own ventures, win national awards, and raise investments to take their own ideas from concept to commercialization. They will be involved in selecting this year’s Rubin Family Innovation Mentors.

Todd B. Rubin ’04 to Kick-Off “The Republic of Innovation” Global Entrepreneurship Week

Todd B. Rubin ’04 (School of Architecture), Minister of Evolution and President of The Republic of Tea, is sponsoring Syracuse University’s 2019 celebration of “The Republic of Innovation” Global Entrepreneurship Week from November 11 – 15, 2019.  Through the Rubin Family Foundation, Todd B. Rubin established a grant for the 2019-2020 academic year for five Rubin Family Innovation Mentors at Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries (LaunchPad), as well as funds for the Impact Prize Competition, and other campus events taking place that week.

As the sponsor of this year’s “The Republic of Innovation” Global Entrepreneurship Week, Rubin will kick-off the week with a keynote address on Monday, November 11 at noon at Bird Library in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons (Room 114).  Light lunch refreshments and tea will be served. A series of activities that are free and open to the community are planned throughout the week to celebrate The Republic of Innovation Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Rubin serves as the Minister of Evolution (President) for The Republic of Tea. Dedicated to preserving a legacy that fosters The Republic of Tea’s “Sip by Sip Rather than Gulp by Gulp” lifestyle, he strives to delight Citizens, Ministers, Embassies and Ambassadors with a focus on innovation, education and providing the finest premium teas and herbs.

Rubin joined The Republic of Tea in 2007 as the Minister of East Commerce and then transitioned to the Minister of Southeast Commerce in 2008. In 2011, he was appointed to Minister of Evolution (Vice President of Sales and Marketing), relocating to the company’s Larkspur, California office.  In that role, he successfully spearheaded new teas and new systems that led to significant growth, including: Beautifying Botanicals Teas, organic SuperAdapt Teas, organic SuperGreen Teas, HiCAF® Teas, Sonoma Teas, Biodynamic® Teas, Cuppa Cake® Teas, Downton Abbey™ Teas, organic SuperHerb® Teas, U-Matcha™ teas, The Crown® Teas and the organic Single Sips. Utilizing his degree in architecture, he oversaw the feng shui design of the company’s headquarters at The Exchange in Larkspur, California and the company’s production and shipping center in Nashville, Illinois. 

In 2016, Rubin was elected to the Specialty Food Association Board of Directors and was distinguished as one of San Francisco Business Times’ 40 Under 40. He was appointed to the Advisory Board for the Specialty Tea Institute and became a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization SF Bay Area Chapter in 2015. The year prior, Rubin was the recipient of Syracuse’s Generation Orange Award for philanthropy and was also honored as one of North Bay Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Rubin was elected to the Board for the Ethical Tea Partnership, a nonprofit organization that convenes the tea industry, development partners, NGOs, and governments to improve the lives of tea workers, farmers, and the environment in which they live and work.

He starts his day with a cup of Lucky Irish Breakfast tea, sips Brain Boost SuperGreen tea in the afternoon and ends his evenings with Clarity and Calm herbal tea. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, traveling, photography, and reading.

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) started in 2007 with 37 countries committing to support it; within a year it grew to over 77 countries and 3 million people participating in 25,022 events. Now it is a collection of thousands of events, activities and competitions around the world. At the LaunchPad, over 112 countries have been represented since its inception. This year’s competition at Syracuse is scheduled the week before “Global Entrepreneurship Week” being held by GEW November 18-24 to better accommodate the academic year schedule.

About The Republic of Tea:

The Republic of Tea enriches people’s lives through its great-tasting premium teas and herbs, education and innovation, as it emphasizes a “Sip by Sip Rather Than Gulp by Gulp” lifestyle. Founded in 1992, The Republic of Tea sparked a specialty tea revolution. Today the brand delivers an unequaled selection of the highest-quality teas, herbal blends, books and nature-inspired sipware. The Republic of Tea’s collections boast over 300 all-natural premium teas and diverse offerings which include, but are not limited to: organic SuperAdapt Teas, SuperDigest Teas, Beautifying Botanicals, SuperGreen Teas, Downton Abbey™ Teas, Biodynamic® Teas, organic Superfruit™ Teas, Be Active® Teas, organic SuperHerb® Teas, U-Matcha™, Single Sips ®, teaware and a collection of unsweetened, premium glass-bottled iced teas crafted exclusively for fine restaurants and hotels. Further, The Republic of Tea is mindful of how its actions impact the greater community and actively supports organizations like The Ethical Tea Partnership, Homeward Bound of Marin, and The Women of Tea: Sri Lanka, an initiative by The Republic of Tea focused on improving nutrition, hygiene and financial literacy for the women tea workers living in Sri Lanka. Certifications include Demeter USA Certified Biodynamic, Fair Trade certification, Gluten-Free certification, Non-GMO Project verification, OU Kosher certification, and USDA Organic certification.