There were a lot of e-mails and phone calls from blog readers, asking "Have you heard back from her yet?"
Like every good organization, I finally did.
Almost one week after sending the initial "I want to bring your incredible organization to Fort Worth"
e-mail, I got a response from the Manager of Special Events and Communication. I knew it was a generic form reply – nicely camouflaged with my name and references to Fort Worth – I didn't care, though....
I WAS PUMPED!
The conversation had started
(and for those that know me ... that's all I need.)
Here are the highlights from the organization's response – at least the parts I focused on (I also included my thoughts and/or actions in parenthesis):
• "... we are doing research for our next city now."
(Fort Worth! Fort Worth! Fort Worth!)
• "It takes a lot of support to make the replication process a success and it would be great if we could count on your help." (You know you can!)
• "If you’re running in an upcoming race soon (like the Nashville’s Country Music Marathon you are already training for), please consider making your miles really go the distance by becoming a fund-racer for Back on My Feet." (Done – I set up a Donation Page through the e-Partners in Giving web site – click here to make a small donation)
• "The 20in24 Sponsored by Nike: This is the Philadelphia area’s only 24-hour running event and has four races in one." (I wrote back and let them know that I would love to "work registration, man a water station, hold the finish-line tape, whatever!")
• "If you would like to make a tax-deductable donation..." (I let her know that e-Partners in Giving will move Back on My Feet to the top of its charitable contributions for the next quarter.)
• "Please let me know if you plan to be in Philly any time soon – we’d love for you to join us for a run."
(My response: "I'll see you guys in early March.")
I wanted to build on the momentum of my first e-mail and reinforce how serious and dedicated I am to making Fort Worth a Back on My Feet city.
I think they finally caught on.
After responding to the Manager of Special Events and Communication, I received an e-mail from the organization's founder and president, Anne Mahlum.
AWESOME! AWESOME! AWESOME!
Here is an excerpt from her correspondence:
"Drew, Maureen forwarded me your email last night and I just wanted to say thank you for everything you’re doing – fund-racing for us, coming to volunteer at the 20in24 (you’re going to have a blast), running with us (I should warn you – you’re going to be hooked!), and for moving us up on the list for a donation with your company."
She closed with: "I look forward to meeting you when you come to Philly."
I am so happy that Fort Worth is simply part of the conversation now. I can't and won't ask for anything more at this point.
I know that getting Back on My Feet to launch a chapter here – sooner than later – remains a long-shot, but at least the seed has been planted.
Anne Mahlum and her staff now know they have a city with a vision to end homelessness and a soldier who will help lead the fight. Without being annoying and/or over-bearing, I will continue to make my case for bringing this incredible organization to Fort Worth.
One last thing ... it makes me smile that there are other people across the country that believe in Back on My Feet as much as me and want to help attack homelessness through this program. My friend Katie wants to start a chapter in Minnesota and a gentleman from Florida said the RW article had the same impact on him.
My real goal is that Back on My Feet finds its way into every homeless community across the country.
Anne Mahlum has definitely opened a wonderful can of worms.
This really is the last thing ... Anne encouraged me to share images from her web site.
Group picture from morning training run (Nov. 2008)
Back on My Feet member since its creation,
completes his first marathon
Michael Solomon (center) after marathon
(look at that pride and confidence)
Group shot after 2007 Philadelphia marathon
No caption need
(I LOVE IT!)
You can support Back on My Feet
through my participation