In honor of Back on My Feet Baltimore’s 10th birthday, we are featuring 10 unique stories leading up to the big day. Today, we have Ashley Kilpatrick – the Vice President of Development at Back on My Feet!
Ashley began her journey with Back on My Feet as a volunteer, then as the Chapter Director for the then-joint DC and Baltimore chapter, and now at our National Headquarters leading the charge to fundraise and create unique partnerships to propel our mission forward nationwide. Her story is empowering and inspiring – check it out:
In 2011, living in Atlanta, I learned about an organization with an unusual model: running as a catalyst to help people overcome homelessness. I had recently left law practice for nonprofit work, and I was instantly drawn to this unique organization.
As a lawyer and in law school, I did pro bono work with individuals who were homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. My clients often faced a long list of obstacles but had no support system left and struggled to see a path forward. The Back on My Feet mission made complete sense to me. Use running and community to empower individuals to tackle the road ahead. YES! I joined the Atlanta team and about a year later, moved to Washington, D.C., where I led the DC and Baltimore chapters in 2012 and 2013. In that time, I was quickly charmed by Charm City. I was amazed by the Back on My Feet community that had flourished in Baltimore – the volunteers who had been running and walking with members since Day 1. By the members, who were putting in the time and effort required to transform their lives. With Charlie Constable leading the Advisory Board and Jackie a long-time dedicated staff member, we began working hard with volunteers and corporate supporters to stabilize and grow the chapter. To evolve from start-up mode to more established operations. And, boy, have we evolved! In Baltimore, and as an organization.
In 2015, when Katy Sherratt became the Back on My Feet CEO, I joined her team as VP of Development to help build the fundraising strategy and infrastructure that would give Back on My Feet greater capacity to serve. We were committed to moving Back on My Feet from start-up mode to a more stable organization and to increase our impact. Across the country, more than 75,000 individuals live in transitional homeless shelters and inpatient addiction recovery centers. Right now, we reach about 10,000 of those individuals nationwide. Working with our supporters in Baltimore and all over the country, we know we can reach all 75,000. So much incredible work has been done – and there is so much more to do.
Happy Birthday, Back on My Feet Baltimore! And, most importantly, thank you. Thank you to the members who came to believe in our program and themselves. Thank you to our staff who have worked long and hard to grow this chapter. And thank you to our donors and volunteers, who continue to make this work possible.