Since its inaugural Event last year, The CEO SleepOut™ has raised R34 million for Beneficiaries.


The Event sees South Africa’s C-Suite Members and Influencers spend a winter’s night on the streets gaining empathy for the homeless, raising funds for vulnerable communities. The first Event last year raised over R20 million for the Founding Beneficiary Partner, Girls and Boys Town.

The 2016 Sun International CEO SleepOut™ Event took place in July this year on The Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg. 2016’s efforts were focused on Education as the primary means to eradicate poverty and homelessness.

“This year, just over R20 million has been collected and banked so far,” says Gawie Marais, Partner at BDO, The CEO SleepOut™ Stakeholder Audit Partner.

“Donations of R9 million will be awarded to the three Primary Beneficiary Partners equally; The ASHA Trust, Columba Leadership and The Steve Biko Foundation – all of which up-skill the youth and youth educators, or train in early childhood development. As just over R30 million was pledged, a further R10 million will also be divided equally and awarded to those Beneficiary Partners when collected,” said Darren Olivier, Trustee.

The remaining funds were used to manage this mammoth operation and its associated logistics, with R3 million being kept in reserve to launch The 2017 Event. Over two years, R34 million has been donated to charity, representing 73% of The Project’s income revenue.

The CEOs who raised the most funds were Brett Levy, Joint Chief Executive Officer, Blue Label Telecoms Ltd, Paul Dunne, Chief Executive Officer, Northam Platinum Ltd, and Gavin Varejes, Executive Chairman, Richmark Holdings.

The Event enjoys a significant Social Return on Investment (SROI). In 2015, as measured by IQ Business, the SROI was 1:3.15. This means that for every R1 received by the Beneficiaries, R3.15 was realised in terms of Social Impact, based on an analysis of select Stakeholder Groups – an over-300% return on investment.

“We expect this number to increase for 2016, based on the success of the various associated events that took place,” says Stephen Smith, Associate Partner: Sustainability and Impact Measurement, IQ Business.

Secondary Beneficiaries in 2016 included Homeless Talk, The Salvation Army, and Gift of The Givers, which all benefited from The Projects affiliated to The CEO SleepOut™.

Graeme Stephens, Chief Executive of Title Partner Sun International, said “2016’s Event saw 168 C-Suite Members register. For the first time this year, the current business leaders also brought with them an Exceptional Colleague, Outstanding Student, and Inspirational Matric Learner. Together, they became the #4Leaders4Change, sparking an inter-generational discussion about creating change in South Africa.”

The 2016 CEO SleepOut Event™didn’t only benefit the chosen Beneficiaries financially. Awarded Protected Event Status by Minister Rob Davies, Department of Trade & Industry, the Event’s activities also helped local, vulnerable communities in other, more immediate ways.

All items from The Event were recycled back into the community in keeping with The Event’s ethos ‘to arrive with nothing, and leave with nothing’. The morning after the Event, working with Gift of the Givers, over 1,000 members of the local homeless community were invited onto The Bridge, where they could help themselves to blankets, sleeping bags, food and all other items used at The Event.

The sheds used to house the activities on The Bridge that night were donated to the Local Zandspruit and Itsoseng Communities. More than 600 books that were collected at The Brand South Africa Play Your Part Library of Hope were awarded to The beneficiaries for their Educational efforts, and to Lesedi Day Care in Alexandra.

65 Schools, 44 Companies and 9 Tertiary Education Institutions participated in The School, Sympathy and Student SleepOut™s. Participants were encouraged to collect stationery, technology, food or clothing for under-resourced schools or institutions in their area.

38 Sympathy SleepOut™ Beneficiaries, 9 Student SleepOut™ Beneficiaries and over 65 School SleepOut™ Beneficiaries benefited, including Daily Bread Charity, TLC Orphanage, St. Anne’s Home, Usindiso Ministries Women’s Shelter and The Inner City Mission.

Speaking about the event, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said: “What events like this do is continue to build a social consciousness which reflects human solidarity, human empathy, and the spirit of sharing, in order that all of society can be better off.”

Brett Levy, joint CEO of Blue Label Telecoms Ltd, said: “It would be a lot easier for people to put money in a bank account and stay in their bed, at home, but people put in the effort. You’ll obviously never feel what homeless people feel – I don’t believe this event is about that. But just the effort that people come out here to do this – I think it’s a one-up for CEOs.”

Vodacom CEO, Shameel Joosub, also called on other corporates to get involved. “This activity is very important for me because it brings together Corporate South Africa and gets them to rise up. Corporate South Africa needs a challenge to rise up to.”

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Sources: CEO SleepOut

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Brent Lindeque is the founder and editor in charge at Good Things Guy.

Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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