145+ Participants Join The 4th Annual CEO Sleepout To Elevate Homelessness Discussion And Create Jobs For City’s Vulnerable: Sept. 18


Downtown Winnipeg – On any given night in Winnipeg, an estimated 350 people stay in one of the city’s homeless shelters, 700 to 1,000 people stay in single room occupancy hotels, and more than 1,400 people bunk with relatives, friends or acquaintances in temporary accommodation. On September 18th, 140+ CEOs, community leaders, and members of the media will take to the streets at the 4th annual CEO Sleepout. Camped out at Portage and Main, participants will help to elevate the discussion about homelessness and raise funds to give those living on the streets employment opportunities.

“Homelessness is one of the greatest challenges that still exists in our city,” said Stefano Grande, Executive Director of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “Four years ago, the Downtown BIZ brought its voice to the table with its inaugural CEO Sleepout event. After witnessing this issue firsthand, along with the strain put on the fire, police and medical services that are assisting people day by day, we issued a challenge to the corporate community. We asked CEOs and community leaders to step up as part of our CEO Sleepout, to help support the work of the non-profit sector, intensify the conversation around homelessness and challenge government to press forward with long-term solutions.”

Since its inception, the CEO Sleepout has fundraised nearly half a million dollars to employ 40 individuals who are homeless – providing shelter, quality of life supports, and an opportunity to contribute back to the city in a positive and meaningful way. Many of these individuals have returned to school or found permanent full-time jobs – prospects once considered unattainable due to the numerous barriers facing those deeply entrenched in the cycle of poverty and homelessness.

In addition, Rob Johnston, a three-time CEO Sleepout participant and former regional RBC President, went on to co-chair the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council (WPRC) Task Force to End Homelessness, with a focus on bringing together the private, public and not-for-profit sector to develop a plan to end homelessness in our city. This plan was created in consultation with cities from all across North America, with consideration of indigenous perspectives, insights from social agencies working on the front lines and the voice of the business community.

By setting direction in four key areas – prevention, creating a person-centred system of care, a “Housing First” strategy backed up by an adequate housing supply and careful measurement [data collection] for use in evaluating and improving programs – this plan will help reduce the number of individuals who are homeless, whether they are living in shelters or in transient housing. Download the plan: www.wprc.ca.

“Now and over the next decade, the real work must begin. Government and the private sector will need to roll up their sleeves and work together to implement the plan’s recommendations,” says Grande. “We all have a stake and responsibility to put an end to homelessness. When we work together with government and the private sector, we can start to form realistic and tangible targets to make a difference.”

He adds: “Spending one night on the street is nothing compared to what an individual experiencing homelessness faces. This event is a public challenge to our politicians and corporate community to get involved, to work together, and to end homelessness.”

CEO Sleepout Participants

  • Adam Blanchard, Manitoba Association of Friendship Centres, Executive Director
  • Adam Garrett, Impact Security Group, Regional Manager –  Corporate Operations & Safety
  • Adam Taylor, 99.1 Fresh FM, On Air Host
  • Albert El Tassi, Peerless Garments LP, President and CEO
  • Alex Akman, Akman Management, Accountant
  • Alex Ethans, EPH Apparel, Co-owner and Operator
  • Ali Almaleki, GIVE30 Manitoba, Executive Committee Member
  • Althea Guiboche, Got Bannock, Founder
  • Andrew Parkes, EPH Apparel, Co-owner
  • Dr. Annette Trimbee, University of Winnipeg, President and Vice-Chancellor
  • Ari Driver, Perfume Paradise, Owner
  • Benji Rothman, KCKSTRT Creative, Co-founder and Creative Director
  • Bert Treller, Impark, General Manager
  • Bill Crossman, Guppy Graphic Design, CEO
  • Brent Timmerman, Manitoba Housing, COO
  • Brent Neill, Black Sheep Strategy, Media and Creative Strategist
  • Brian Bowman, City of Winnipeg, Mayoral Candidate
  • Brian Scharfstein, Canadian Footwear, President
  • Brigitte Burgoyne, Cargill Inc., Director, Global Employee Involvement
  • Bruce Martin, University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine, Associate Dean, Students
  • Callie Costello, Callie’s Backpacks for Winnipeg’s Homeless, Founder
  • Cam Baldwin, Winnipeg Police Service, Inspector for Division #13
  • Candace Maxymowich, Louis Riel School Division (Ward 4), Candidate for School Trustee
  • Cheryl Mazur, St. Vital Centre, General Manager
  • Chino Argueta, Youth Agencies Alliance, Director
  • Christopher Leo, University of Winnipeg, Faculty
  • Chris Loewen, Protegra, Venture Developer
  • Constance Menzies, Chocolatier Constance Popp Inc., CEO
  • Corey Peloquin, Impact Security Group Inc., Client Services Manager
  • Curtis Wyatt, Wyatt Dowling Insurance Brokers, President and CEO
  • Damon Johnston, Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg Inc., President and CEO
  • Dan Guimond, Manitoba Public Insurance, President and CEO
  • Dave Cunnin, Agape Table Inc., Assistant Director
  • Diane Wiesenthal, Corporate People Responsibility (CPR) Ltd., President and CEO
  • David Gingera, CitiGrow, Founder and President
  • Debra Zoerb, Folklorama, Executive Director
  • Donald Burrell, Winnipeg Blue Bombers, Alumni
  • Donna D’Errico, Baywatch, Former Actress
  • Donovan Robinson, Vantage Studios, Managing Director
  • Doug Speirs, Winnipeg Free Press, Columnist
  • Dwight MacAulay, Government of Manitoba, Chief of Protocol
  • Eric Wiens, Stantec, Vice President
  • Elisha Dacey, Metro Winnipeg, Managing Editor
  • Floyd Perras, Siloam Mission, Executive Director
  • Gord Friesen, Winnipeg Police Service, Inspector for Division #31
  • Gord Steeves, City of Winnipeg, Mayoral Candidate
  • Greg Cherewyk, Pulse Canada, COO
  • Harry Wolbert, Make Poverty History Manitoba, Committee Member
  • Ian Vickers, Diversity Food Services Inc., COO
  • Ian Wishart, Province of Manitoba, MLA for Portage la Prairie
  • James B. Wilson, Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba, Treaty Commissioner
  • Jan Sanderson, Government of Manitoba, Deputy Minister of Children and Youth Opportunities
  • Janet Forbes, Community Living Winnipeg, Executive Director
  • JD Francis, Energy 106, Afternoon Drive Announcer
  • Jeff Herd, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Executive Director
  • Jeff Hnatiuk, Sport Manitoba, President and CEO
  • Jeff Kovalik-Plouffe, Liberal Party of Manitoba, Executive Director
  • Jeff Rabb, Winpark Dorchester Properties, President
  • Jenny Gerbasi, City of Winnipeg, City Councillor (Fort Rouge – East Fort Garry)
  • Jessica Paley, Manitoba Association of Friendship Centres, Program and Policy Analyst
  • Jim Baker, Manitoba Hotel Association, CEO
  • The Honourable JoAnne L. Buth, Government of Canada, Senator
  • Joelle Foster, Futurpreneur Canada, Director, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nunavut, NWT
  • John Bertrand, CBC Manitoba, Saskatchewan & The North, Senior Managing Director
  • John McDonald, Metric Marketing, President and CEO
  • Jonathan Garwood, Evergreen Vision Communications, Social Justice Policy Consultant
  • Jonathan Metcalfe, National Industrial Communications Inc., Strategic Account Manager
  • Jordan Nastiuk, Manitoba Association of Native Fire Fighters, Emergency Management Officer
  • Jose Francois, University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine, Head, Department of Family Medicine
  • Joshua Simair, Skip The Dishes, President & CEO
  • Judy Wasylycia-Leis, City of Winnipeg, Mayoral Candidate
  • Karampaul Sandhu, Sandhu Developments, President
  • Kal Barteski, K. Barteski, CEO
  • Karen Rocznik, Reporter, CTV
  • Katharine Cherewyk, The Creaddo Group, Vice-President, Creative Services & Communications
  • Keith Bellamy, City of Winnipeg, Candidate for City Councillor (Daniel McIntyre Ward)
  • Keith Sinclair, Harris Consulting, President and CEO
  • Kelvin Shepherd, MTS, President
  • Kemal Leslie, Emotion Media Inc., President
  • Ken P. Penuita, Assiniboine Credit Union, Director, Commercial Sales & Service
  • Kerry Swanson, Herzing College, President
  • The Honourable Kevin Chief, Minister Responsible for Children and Youth Opportunities; Minister Responsible for the City of Winnipeg
  • Kirsten Godbout, Diversity Food Services, Manager of Food Operations
  • Lawrence Toet, Government of Canada, MP (Elmwood-Transcona)
  • Lisa Dyck, Cornell Crème, CEO
  • Lisa Goss, Main Street Project, Executive Director
  • Lisa Hiebert, Best Care Drycleaners, CEO
  • Lisa Tjaden, Radiance Gifts, CEO
  • Lisa Webinger, Recon Controls Ltd., Sales and Marketing Manager
  • Liz Kovach, Manitoba Camping Association/Sunshine Fund, Executive Director
  • Lorne Midford, Manitoba Hydro, Vice President, Generation Operations
  • Lynne Marie Roy, Fearless PR & Marketing, Owner and Founder
  • Maciek Hunek, EPH Apparel, Co-founder
  • Madeleine Arbez, Francofonds Inc., Executive Director
  • Mala Sachdeva, Manitoba Housing, CFO
  • Marilyn Peckett, Manitoba Field Unit (Parks Canada), Superintendent
  • Mary Beth Taylor, The Creaddo Group, Partner, Managing Director, Senior Fundraising Advisor
  • Matt Allard, Francophone Chamber of Commerce, CEO
  • Matt Erhard, Summit Search Group, Managing Partner
  • Matthew Guberman, Duraco Windows, President and CEO
  • Michael Ball, Impact Security Group Inc., Corporate Accountant
  • Michael Redhead Champagne, Aboriginal Youth Opportunities, Founder
  • Mike Pagtakhan, City of Winnipeg, City Councillor (Point Douglas)
  • Mohamed El Tassi, Sargent Blue Jeans, President and CEO
  • Mohammad Almaleki, Koality Agency, Founder
  • Monica Giesbrecht, HTFC Planning & Design, Principal
  • Nathan Unrau, Lunches With Love Inc., Founder
  • Pamela Roz, 103.1 Virgin Radio, Host
  • Pascal Belanger, Winnipeg Airports Authority, Vice President, Business Development
  • Paul Surrette, Place Louise Riel Suite Hotel, Hotel Manager
  • Paula Havixbeck, City of Winnipeg, Mayoral Candidate
  • Peter Havens, Kildonan Place, General Manager
  • Phil Squarie, Wicker World Home + Patio, CEO
  • Philip Giles, Modern Earth Web Design, President
  • Rachelle Taylor, Prairie Yogi, Founder
  • Rana Bokhari, Liberal Party of Manitoba, Leader
  • Real Cloutier, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, COO and Vice President
  • Rhonda Gardner, Meals on Wheels, Executive Director
  • Richard Cloutier, CJOB, News Director
  • Richard Walls, Red Road Lodge, CEO and Board Chair
  • Robert Young, Manitoba Liberal Party, Vice President
  • Ron Brown, Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg Inc., President and CEO
  • Ron D’errico, Impact Security Group Inc., CEO
  • Ron Lamoureux, WhirlWind Media Group, President
  • Ryan Cruise, Cruise Media Group, CEO
  • Sachit Mehra, East India Company Pub & Eatery, Owner/Manager
  • Sandra Hagenaars, Grant Park Shopping Centre/Garden City Square Shopping Centre, General Manager
  • Scot Halley, Winnipeg Police Service, Commander of Division #11
  • Scott MacKay, Probe Research Inc., President
  • Scott McFadyen, Canadian Propane Association, Western Regional Manager
  • Sean Barnes, PCL Constructors Canada Inc., Vice President and District Manager
  • Shane Johnston, Dollarwise Quality Cleaners, President
  • Shane Storie, SRS Signs & Service, CEO
  • Shawn Brandson, Promenade Café and Wine; Gibraltar Dining Corp., President and CEO
  • The Honourable Shelly Glover, Government of Canada, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
  • Sotirios Kotoulas, Sotirios Corp., CEO
  • Spencer Fernando, University of Manitoba Conservatives, President
  • Stefano Grande, Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, Executive Director
  • Stephanie Forsyth, Red River College, President and CEO
  • Steve Lafleur, Frontier Centre for Public Policy, Public Policy Analyst
  • Steven Spry, Manitoba Housing, CEO
  • Tom Malone, The Winnipeg Clinic, CEO
  • Trudy L. Lavallee, Ikwe Widdjiitiwin Inc., Executive Director
  • Vanesa Wu, University of Winnipeg Business Administration Students’ Association, President
  • Vince Petrozza, Fortress Real Developments, Vice President and COO
  • Wayne Ewasko, Province of Manitoba, MLA for Lac du Bonnet
  • Volunteers from University of Manitoba Commerce Students’ Association 5 Days for the Homeless

Leading up to the 4th annual CEO Sleepout, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ and its partners will undertake efforts to further educate and inform the business community and public about homelessness:

  • A new marketing campaign led by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ and its partners, Guppy Graphic Design, Kal Barteski, The Creaddo Group, and social agencies, will be unveiled closer to the CEO Sleepout and will help stimulate greater conversation and critiques about homelessness – highlighting the gravity of this issue and the work being done to address it.
  • On Sunday, September 14th, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s Community Homeless Assistance Team will host its first ever Raising the Bar Services Fair at the Aboriginal Centre of Winnipeg from 11AM to 3PM. Raising the Bar is a collaborative effort from social service agencies, business organizations, and volunteers in bringing together under one roof essential supports and services, such as housing, employment, legal, dental, and other health care services. Led by the community and students from neighbouring schools, participants will also enjoy a barbeque with food donated by nearby downtown restaurants.
  • Earlier this year, funds from last year’s CEO Sleepout were doled out to Graffiti Art Programming Inc., Artbeat Studio, Macdonald Youth Services, Red Road Lodge, and Siloam Mission to create employment opportunities for individuals experiencing homelessness. Their stories will be shared at the CEO Sleepout with a booklet called Stories of Change – a series of interviews gathered by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ and written by The Creaddo Group. Some examples of these stories are attached.

Participating CEOs in the Sleepout can be sponsored directly online and/or general donations towards Change for the Better can be done in three ways:

  1. Online at www.changeforthebetter.org
  2. Cheque or money order made out to “Downtown BIZ – Change for the Better” (Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, 426 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 0C9)
  3. Collection boxes at participating venues downtown

Change for the Better and the CEO Sleepout is generously supported by many partners: The Creaddo Group, Guppy Graphic Design, Vantage Studios, Special T Shirt Company, SRS Signs & Service, Impark, Impact Security Group, 201 Portage Avenue, Leif Norman, Winnipeg Free Press, and CJOB.

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For more information, please contact:

Jason Syvixay, Managing Director
Ph: (204) 958-4635; 997-3040
Email: jason@downtownwinnipegbiz.com

group photo

Photo Credit: Rom Cueto