In 2006, business leader Bernard Fehon created The CEO Sleepout while working to raise funds for Australian NGO St Vincent de Paul Society (Vinnies).
Fehon believed traditional fundraising events were “tired”, thus motivating him to spearhead the global Sleepout movement. Today, The Vinnies CEO Sleepout is a one-night event over one of the longest and coldest nights of the year.
Hundreds of CEOs, business owners as well as community and government leaders sleep outdoors to support the many Australians who experience homelessness.
Each CEO Sleepout participant commits to raising thousands of dollars to help Vinnies provide essential services to the people who need them.
Since 2011, Canadian business leaders have participated in The Covenant House Sleepout in 14 Covenant House locations across Toronto and the rest of North America.
The Executive Edition of the Sleepout is an international movement, where an average of 920 sleepers, from Anchorage to New Orleans, raised funds in support of local Covenant House sites.
New Zealand’s The Lifewise Big Sleepout aims to tackle homelessness in Auckland. With over half of New Zealand’s homeless population aged under 25 (and a quarter of those being children), the event puts the spotlight on ending youth homelessness.
Each ‘rough sleeper’ was asked to raise funds to support initiatives that aid in placing young people into permanent homes where they can access the support services they need.
While on a philanthropic fact-finding mission in Australia, Ali Gregg (now Founder and CEO of The CEO SleepOut™) heard about the Vinnies CEO Sleepout.
A Pioneering Philanthropist, Gregg believes that a new philanthropic mindset is needed for the “have-gots” in South Africa.
Gregg asked for – and received – Fehon’s ‘blessing’ to bring The Sleepout concept back to South Africa.
On Wednesday 18 June 2015, business leaders braced the winter cold to spend a night on the streets in Sandton.
This first event raised more than R26 million overnight, making it the singularly most successful overnight fundraising event in the history of the country and the African Continent; and the most successful inaugural CEO Sleepout in the world.
THE UNITED KINGDOM
The UK’s Sleepout was officially formed in 2013 by Andy Preston after two successful CEO Sleepout events were held at Middlesbrough FC and Newcastle Utd FC in collaboration with Middlesbrough & Teesside Philanthropic Foundation.
Since then, more than 1,400 executives have raised substantial funds for homeless causes.
The UK event collects funds by encouraging business leaders to raise sponsorship from their contacts and friends to spend a night sleeping outdoors.
They’ve also seen high-profile sponsors become involved. Events are held all across the UK.
THE UNITED STATES
Sleepouts across the US are organised by Covenant House. Since 1972, Covenant House has forged forward with its simple yet profound mission to help homeless youths escape the streets.
It is the largest privately funded charity in the Americas and has grown the Sleepout events to include various editions, including The Executive Edition for business leaders.
The Sleep Out America Movement’s tagline is 1Nation. 1Night. 1Goal.