CEOs to Raise Funds for Homeless



September 14, 2012



Downtown Winnipeg – Over 50 Winnipeg CEOs will sleep out for one evening this September 27th to raise funds and awareness for homelessness and poverty issues in our city, at the Downtown BIZ’s 2nd annual Change for the Better CEO Sleepout.

“Our goal this year is to educate our downtown community and the public about supportive housing and employment as means to ending homelessness in our city and our downtown,” said Stefano Grande, Executive Director of the Downtown BIZ. “We’re challenging CEOs, community leaders, and key decision-makers to play a role in building a community that creates opportunities for our city’s most vulnerable, resulting in socio-economic improvements for our downtown and city.”

Participants at last year’s CEO Sleepout helped raise over $100,000 for Change for the Better, a program that helps people who are homeless get off the street into permanent paid employment and a healthier environment. Since 1992, over $235,000 has been raised and 100% of all donations support programs like Siloam Mission’s Mission: Off the Streets Team (MOST) that employs people who are homeless to help enhance the image and cleanliness of our downtown while building life skills that may help participants get a full time job. Graffiti Art Programming and Red Road Lodge also received proceeds from last year’s event, empowering the people in our city who do not have housing with meaningful work experience, skills and confidence.

“I’m pleased to be adding my support to these organizations that are making real differences in people’s lives,” said Marilyn McLaren, President and CEO of Manitoba Public Insurance, and one of the participants at this year’s CEO Sleepout.

CEO Sleepout participants will not only spend the night at Portage & Main on September 27, but will also learn more about homelessness at workshops and lived experience tours, led by a coalition of social agencies in Winnipeg, in what they are calling Winnipeg’s first Homelessness Awareness Week. With the goal to inform, discuss and engage the community on homelessness issues and to create solutions, participants will tour downtown back alleys with youth, experience a simulation of the difficulties associated with navigating homelessness systems, view art created by people in our city experiencing homelessness, and engage in Q&A about the issues. To learn more, visit

”Just as poverty and homelessness affect everyone in Winnipeg, everyone needs to be a part of the solution,” said Christina Maes Nino, Policy Analyst at the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. “Awareness is the first step towards developing and ultimately implementing those meaningful solutions together.”

The following CEOs and community leaders are taking this challenge head-on and sleeping out for one evening to help out the cause:


Adam Topp, Health Sciences Centre, Chief Operating Officer

Andrew Collier, Winnipeg Goldeyes Baseball Club, General Manager

Andrew Kussy, Business Administration Students’ Association, President and CEO

Ari Driver, Perfume Paradise, Owner

Bert Treller, General Manager, Impark

Bill Crossman, Guppy Graphic Design, CEO

Brian Bowman, Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, Chair

Brian Scharfstein, Canadian Footwear, President

Candace Maxymowich, Manitoba Youth Advisory Council, Board Member

Charles Loewen, Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council, Co-chair

Damon Johnston, Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg Inc., President and CEO

Darrell Jones, Manitoba Housing, CEO

Diane Gray, CentrePort Canada, President and CEO

Doug Speirs, Winnipeg Free Press, Columnist

Dr. Brent Wong, Shine Dental, CEO and Principle Dentist

Drew Kozub, Breakfast Television, Remote Host

Elisha Dacey, Metro Winnipeg, Managing Editor

Floyd Perras, Siloam Mission, Executive Director

Graham Thomson, Red River College, Dean of the School of Business & Applied Arts

Ian Gerbrandt, Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council, Managing Director

Ivan Holloway, Darcy & Deacon, LLP

Jeff Herd, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Executive Director

Jeff Hnatiuk, Sport Manitoba, President and CEO

Jenna Khan, Breakfast Television, Weather Specialist & Entertainment Host

Jenny Gerbasi, City of Winnipeg, City Councillor (Fort Rouge East Fort Garry)

Jillian Taylor, CTV, Reporter

Jino Distasio, UW Institute of Urban Studies, Director

Jonny Maria, Rudy’s Eat and Drink, General Manager

Keith Sinclair, Harris Consulting, President and CEO

Kelvin A. Shepherd, MTS, President

Kirsten Godbout, Diversity Food Services, Manager

Larry Desrochers, Manitoba Opera, General Director and CEO

Marilyn McLaren, Manitoba Public Insurance, President and CEO

Marina James, Economic Development Winnipeg Inc., President and CEO

Meagan Sinclair, JDCWest, Vice President Charity

Michael Anderson, 365 Technologies Inc., President and CEO

Michael Redhead Champagne, Aboriginal Youth Opportunities Founder

Mona Stott, Mokada Jewelry, Owner

Paul Surrette, Place Louis Riel Suite Hotel, Assistant General Manager

Paula Havixbeck, City of Winnipeg, Acting Deputy Mayor

Philip Giles, Modern Earth Web Design, President

Real Cloutier, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Chief Operating Officer

Richard Cloutier, CJOB, News Director

Richard Walls, Red Road Lodge, CEO and Board Chair

Rick Frost, The Winnipeg Foundation, CEO

Rob Johnston, RBC, Regional President

Robert Young, Manitoba Liberal Party, Leadership Candidate

Ron Brown, Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg Inc., President and CEO

Ryan Hart, mf.1 Advertising Branding Strategy, President

Shane Johnston, Dollar Wise Quality Cleaners, Co-owner

Shane Storie, SRS Signs & Service, CEO

Stefano Grande, Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, Executive Director

Tom Janzen, CentreVenture, Development Manager

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

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

Special thanks to our many sponsors and partners: CJOB, Winnipeg Free Press, Diversity Food Services, Rudy’s Eat and Drink, Juss Jazz, Leif Norman, Manitoba Public Insurance, 201 Portage, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Mokada Jewelry, Dollar Wise Quality Cleaners, Goodlife Fitness, Tripwire Media Group Inc., Special T Shirt Company, SRS Signs & Service, Guppy Graphic Design, Lea Marc Inc., Vantage Studios, Esdale Printing Co., and the Downtown BIZ.


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For more information, please contact:

Jason Syvixay, Public Relations Coordinator

Tel: (204) 958-4635; Cell: 997-3040