The 5pm Post – Fundraising for Back on My Feet

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80

“Dear PoP,

I’m running the National Marathon on March 26 in D.C. to raise money for a new nonprofit, Back on My Feet. They enlist homeless people into a running schedule. If they stick with the schedule, they earn the opportunity to connect with job training, employment, and housing.”

Sounds like a great cause. Best of luck! You can donate here.

24 Comment

  • Join Back on My Feet at Nellie’s Sports Bar, 900 U St. NW, this Wednesday, March 9, starting at 5:30 p.m. More information at:

  • They’re sleeping in the gutter, and you want to make them jog with you BEFORE you offer assistance?

    I think it must be more generous than that… I must be interpreting it wrong.

    There’s a reason “housing first” is considered state of the art for homeless services.

    • I’m confused by the organization’s premise as well. The exercise and goal-setting do seem like a good idea though. Something on their website says that they work with people already living in homeless shelters who voluntarily sign up for the program – I suppose it’s no worse than religious outreach which focuses on helping those people who seem willing to convert to that particular religion.

      • I guess it would weed out the druggies and alcoholics and crazies, wouldn’t it? Maybe that’s the intent.

        • Unfortunately it would also weed out the ones that are crippled or have some sort of other physical handicap or medical condition– i.e. the ones who most likely need and deserve the help the most.

          I do hope they don’t make these guys run in the summer.

    • I guess if you’re going to force these people to adopt a yuppie habit this is the only suitable one, since they can’t afford $3 cupcakes or fancy dogs.

    • Agreed. I don’t understand it at all.

  • i also think this is a little off, though the goal setting and physical activity are useful. it’s probably a nice complement service/program for some.

    this qualifies me as a jerk every time i bring it up, but i’ve never really understood the “i’m running for charity” angle. the breast cancer walk raises money and promotes awareness, i totally get that. but the “i’m going to do something i like to do anyway and cloak myself in righteousness of a random cause, please give me money” is weird. ask people to donate making a case that it’s a worthwhile cause and do your exercise. why are the two mixed?

    • yeah, to clarify, the walk for the cure is great. the “i’m going to run this marathon unconnected with a charity and say i’m running for a cause” doesn’t make sense to me.

    • It’s all about raising money. I suspect it’s easier to get people (especially people you know) to donate money if it’s connected to some sort of event or achievement. Otherwise charities wouldn’t hold fund-raising events at all, they would just ask people to donate and then sit back and watch the money pour in.

    • Amen – I’ll buy a case of girl scout cookies but the hell with paying you to run!

    • So, I recently learned that often, if a person agrees to raise a set amount of money for a charity ($300?) the marathon entry fee ($100?) is waived. The person may have little to nothing to do with the organization benefitting.

      Non profits need creative ways to make money, I get that. But I kind of agree with the comment here that you can give money or time of your own instead of getting your friends to donate money so you can enter a race for free…

      That said, Back on My Feet has in fact been around for a while, but it’s this that has gotten a post on PoP. Lots of people throughout DC actually volunteer to go running at 5:45 am at the shelters, without any specific benefit…. so perhaps this post right here with the discussion raised about homelessness is an example of how the race fundraising works.

    • Thank you– I feel exactly the same way about the charity marathons. I quietly donate a certain % of my income to charity, and I feel this is a more sincere approach because no one else has to know about it, it’s all my own money, and I have the freedom to donate to the causes I feel most strongly about rather than those with the resources to put together a race.

  • I think the idea is that there is a segment of the homeless community that is not too far away from being “back on their feet” again. These are not folks who are mentally deranged or physically handicapped, these are folks who for whatever reason have just been unable to put the pieces of life together. A little bit of discipline, a little bit of structure, a little bit of community support, a little job training, a little sense of personal achievement, these are what these folks need. Running (or any sport or group activity) can provide a lot of these things.

    I personally love running – it’s much more than just physical exercise for me – so this makes perfect sense to me. But I know it’s not for everyone.

    • Physical activity is great and I would pay plenty for the homeless to walk around picking up trash.

  • I am not the person who sent the original email, but I run with this group and Back on My Feet is also about community – people who are experiencing homelessness and who are not experiencing homelessness run together, talk together, and go to fun events together.

    There have been dinners on holidays, a talent show, treats on people’s birthdays, and monthly events where homeless members and non-homeless members socialize and have fun.

    Back on My Feet offers something that very few other social service organizations do: people from very different life circumstances interact in a way that defies the usual “rich person handing out stuff to poor person” dynamic.

    Human beings need more than food and shelter – we all also need community and people to care about us.

  • Why so much negativity, people? People are helping one another.

  • You should check out last summer’s article in City Paper on the National Marathon. The CEO of this “non profit” group takes home a half million dollars a year… and your DC taxes are paying several hundred thousand dollars in police overtime for this race.

  • Well, this would never be my cause, but good for you whoever, while I sit here and flit away time on a blog.

    Running is one of the least expensive endeavors one can take up as a hobby. It’s free. It doesn’t require special equipment, and you can do it anywhere. Some runners get a tremendous joy and experience a “runners’ high.”

    But how creative of readers to find all the faults. Way to look for the bad.

    If it makes these people feel good, and not too tired or hungry, more power to them. We haven’t been in their situations… Some of them may be newly homeless…

  • Can’t you help out the people who are close to getting their lives back together without getting them to do physical activity? There’s something weird and Victorian about that…I don’t get why you can’t just be friends with them and not have the running club angle.

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