Back to blog

The R26.4 million raised in the single most successful philanthropic event in South Africa's history - the inaugural South African CEO SleepOut™ - was awarded to the Founding Primary Beneficiary, Girls & Boys Town.

Over the last three years, the funds have been used in various defined Legacy Projects that have made a significant difference.

Here we look at how Girls & Boys Town have used the funds to support what The CEO SleepOut describes as the Five Pillars required to sustainably integrate the homeless back into society; these pillars are Shelter, Nutrition, Health, Education and Community.

The funds were used to support The CEO SleepOut Trust Legacy Projects. The CEO SleepOut Trust requests that The Beneficiaries create Legacy Projects borne out of the funds received from the Trust. The Legacy Projects don’t form part of The Beneficiary’s day-to-day activities and operations, but rather are something unique borne of The CEO SleepOut Events, donated by The CEO SleepOut Trust.

The funding helped Girls & Boys Town to achieve its goals that empower the vulnerable to SHINE. SHINE stands for:

  • SIGNIFICANCE – Enabling youth to develop a sense of self-worth and unique value
  • HOME— Providing youth with the safety of home and family and the ability to function in these environments
  • INDEPENDENCE — Equipping young people with the courage and skills to fare in the world
  • NURTURE — Caring for the youth of today with sensitivity and compassion and enabling them to care for others in the same way
  • EDUCATION — Cultivating the knowledge and practical skills to succeed.


To support these goals, the Girls & Boys Town’s Legacy Projects has used:

  • R2 400 000 to purchase seven new vehicles in December 2015 to empower the vulnerable to SHINE.
  • R1 000 000 to enable youth to attend Holiday Safety and Development Camps between December 2015 and December 2017.
  • R7 880 000 to renovate residential cottages and buildings at Girls and Boys Town Kagiso campus and Magaliesburg campus between January 2017 and mid-2017.
  • R10 400 000 to conduct workshops, interviews, resilience assessments, treatment feedback process and reporting that, since 2015 into 2018, have helped and continue to heal and develop young people and enhance the skill sets of youth support staff.
  • R3 000 000 to train 519 educators and 49 social workers to help more than 17 000 youth and enable 403 hours of out-of-office support to develop community outreach programmes since 2015 into 2018.
  • R1 700 000 to fund a Home Schooling Process that has helped youth to transition into independent studies and mainstream schooling since 2015 into 2017.

Download The Girls & Boys Town Legacy Project’s infographic, created after The 2015 CEO SleepOut Event here.

But The Event held on one winter’s night in June on Gwen Lane in Sandton, Johannesburg, also known as Millionaire’s Mile, did a lot more than raise a whopping total of R26.4 million. It changed the business leaders from across the country who gathered with Sun International and 702 as the Joint Title Partners at The Event. Download The Movement in Numbers: 2015 here.

The CEO SleepOut Trust also measured the social impact of The Event because the Trust wanted to truly understand how The Event shifted mindsets and increased levels of empathy. The CEO SleepOut Trust engaged the professional expertise of IQ Business to measure the Social Return on Investment (SROI) and conduct an Empathy Analysis of the Project.

In 2015, the results showed that 89% of CEOs noted a significant increase in their levels of empathy, which would affect their business and personal decisions after The Event. With an investment of R12 430 764 from all identified stakeholders, which contributed toward the June 2015 Event that raised the R26.4 million, the attributed generated social value was R39 186 144; an SROI ratio of 1:3.15, which means that for each Rand invested in the Event that night, a return of R3,15 in social value was achieved.

If we consider the R26.4 million raised for Girls and Boys Town, the social value of R39 187 144 and the achieved ratio of 1:3:15, The CEO SleepOut Trust has probably achieved an additional social value of as much as R146 million from just this one Event in 2015. Download the 702 Sun International CEO SleepOut —Year One 2015 Social Return on Investment Empathy Analysis here..

In addition, the press coverage of The 2015 CEO SleepOut equated to an Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) of R13 999 444.57 as independently audited by Ornico a brand and media intelligence company. Download The CEO SleepOut Rise to the Challenge: A Campaign Analysis Report here.

The Media Campaign Analysis was considered so successful that Ornico was awarded Gold for both the “Best use of measurement for a single event” and “Best measurement of a not-for profit campaign” at the AMEC Awards — the world’s premium awards celebrating excellence in communications measurement and evaluation — held in London on 16 June 2016. Ornico beat stiff competition from global campaigns featuring Pope Francis, The Bill and the Melinda Gates Foundation and UNICEF. Read Ornico Wins Africa’s First AMEC Awards here.

If we combine the R26.4 million raised at the Event; the R146 million of social value created by the Event; and the R13 999 444.57 of Advertising Value Equivalent, The 2015 CEO SleepOut Event and the affiliated Brand could be positioned at a value of R186 399 444.57 in contributing toward South Africa’s philanthropic landscape.

These aren’t just words, neatly packed to sound helpful “in theory”; these are the very real concepts on which the global movement of positive change is built.
It’s with these ideas that The Philanthropic Collection home to The CEO SleepOut is turning old world philanthropy on its head;
getting business leaders to sleep on the streets to raise funds and gain empathy for the homeless in The CEO SleepOut Event;
and sparking conversations that truly lead to worldwide action.

By Ali Gregg