Back On My Feet: Fighting Homelessness One Run at a Time

Capital One teamed up with Back on My Feet to combat homelessness through the power of running and community support

Pat Robinson graduated in the top 10% of Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) cadets nationwide in 2012, but a reliance on alcohol and drugs sent her aspirations for a career in the Air Force spiraling.

After graduating from Ohio University, Robinson's dependence on drinking worsened while serving as an air battle manager student near Panama City, Florida.

  • After a night of barnstorming through Atlanta’s nightclubs on New Years Eve, Robinson failed a drug test.
  • She lied to her commanding officer about the results and was dismissed eleven months later. 

Zoom out: Robinson was struggling to get clean and knew she needed to make a change.

After moving to San Francisco, California, Robinson struggled through two failed attempts to get clean.

  • During her third stay at a substance abuse treatment facility, Robinson learned of Back on My Feet — a nonprofit that combats homelessness through the power of running. 
  • After working through the 12-step program for 60 days, Robinson labored through running her first mile after joining Back on My Feet.

Why it matters: Robinson discovered a newfound love for fitness and began studying to be a personal trainer.

Back on My Feet connected Robinson with Capital One to help her rebuild her financial outlook.

  • She attended financial literacy workshops at the Capital One Café in San Francisco.

“They motivated me to see a financial life beyond my imagination and attain a reality of wealth,” Robinson said.

Capital One has partnered with Back on My Feet since 2017.

  • Back on My Feet associates in San Francisco have the chance to sit with Café ambassadors for one-on-one financial literacy sessions.
  • Capital One associates in New York City have partnered with Back of My Feet’s NYC chapter and run together in the Color Run 5k and the Holiday Hustle — a December run from Central Park to Rockefeller Center. 

During those sessions, Back on My Feet associates learn how to establish personal financial necessities like balancing a budget, managing credit and making a plan for financial independence.

“They are people who are starting all over again from scratch and we are here to give them clarity for whatever questions they may have. Capital One truly is reimagining banking because everything they do: their belief system, their challenges ... everything is connected to their money. These workshops help them set their goals and think about self care differently.” - Denza Young, Capital One Café ambassador 

We also provide grant support to Back on My Feet. In May, they awarded Capital One with its Corporate Pacesetter award.

“It is no surprise that this nonprofits’ values align closely with ours in bringing humanity to banking and empowering our customers in their journey to be financially successful. We are so proud of the people we are able to support through our partnership with Back on My Feet and I look forward to continuing our journey together to make a difference in the community.” - Nerissa Davis, West Coast Market Executive, Capital One Cafés

Big Picture: This partnership has empowered Back on My Feet associates like Robinson to pursue personal, professional and financial goals that they once saw as unattainable. 

  • Robinson was living homeless in Golden Gate Park before being arrested and sentenced to substance abuse treatment.
  • After she began running with Back on My Feet and attending Capital One’s financial literacy workshops, Robinson found the support and encouragement she needed to be able to dive into her aspirations of becoming a personal trainer.
  • She began training for The Giant Race and received word just days before running her first half-marathon that she had been hired as a personal trainer at a local studio.

“To me, crossing that finish line meant the culmination of salvation,” Robinson said. “If you would have told me five years ago that my life was going to be spared and that I would be given the courage and ability to cross any finish line, I would’ve deemed you crazy, even though I was the one truly in psychosis.” 

What’s next: While the COVID-19 pandemic forced her fitness studio to close, Robinson continues to help those around her through leading socially distant runs with Back on My Feet associates. 

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