Annual CEO Sleepout Raises Nearly $200,000 in Support of Jobs for City’s Homeless


September 19, 2014


Downtown Winnipeg – More than 160 CEOs, community leaders, and members of the media took to the streets at the 4th annual CEO Sleepout, hosted by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. Camped out at Portage and Main, participants used this evening as an opportunity to elevate discussion and awareness about homelessness, and raise funds to give those living on the streets jobs. $195,000 was collectively raised by participants, $5,000 shy of the goal of $200,000 – monies are still being processed and organizers anticipate the event will exceed its fundraising expectations. The public is encouraged to continue donating online at

Participants took part in a series of tours throughout downtown, visiting nearby service agencies and shelters, in addition to hearing from many individuals with lived experience who had joined in on the evening’s activities.

“Homelessness is one of the greatest challenges that still exists in our city,” said Stefano Grande, Executive Director of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ. “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.”

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.

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:

  • Online at
  • Cheque or money order made out to “Downtown BIZ – Change for the Better” (Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, 426 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3C 0C9)
  • 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