CEO Sleepout, Winnipeg, Sept 26 2013

CEO Sleepout 2013

  • When: Thursday, September 26, 2013 (7PM – overnight)
  • Where: 201 Portage Avenue (formerly CanWest Place)

“Change for the Better is an effort to mobilize the community around supportive housing and employment programs that offer solutions. The discomfort of sleeping on the street for one night is hardly similar to the larger realities that face the least advantaged of Winnipeg citizens. But it does offer a tangible opportunity to help.”
-Rick Frost, The Winnipeg Foundation, CEO

“This is just the start of real change happening in our city. People from all walks of life need to work together to help address homelessness and create solutions.”
-Marilyn McLaren, Manitoba Public Insurance, President & CEO

“Sleeping out certainly gave me an appreciation for how much opportunity we can extend to the homeless, to those who are underemployed or unemployed. We can do more, we need to do more, and this is a great beginning.”
-Rob Johnston, RBC, Regional President

Change for the Better


Inform, discuss, and engage with the downtown business community on homelessness and poverty issues, while financially supporting work programs for our city’s most vulnerable.

  1. Educate the business community about the solutions to ending homelessness, such as supportive housing and employment.
  2. Host the Change for the Better CEO Sleepout – to engage and educate the business community, and to fundraise for homeless employment programs.
  3. Work with organizations like the WPRC to help influence policy regarding homelessness.


In 1992, the Downtown BIZ founded its Change for the Better program. Since its inception, the program has raised over $354,000 in donations. In 2011, the BIZ organized the first-ever CEO Sleepout in Canada, which brought together CEOs, community leaders, and media representatives, to raise awareness about homelessness. These participants also raised over $100,000 for Change for the Better and homeless employment programs. This event gained international media coverage, and has set in motion momentum towards creating a 10-year plan to end homelessness, with support from the private sector.

In 2012, the BIZ awarded Siloam Mission, Red Road Lodge, and Graffiti Art Programming Inc. with these funds – and also hosted the 2nd annual CEO Sleepout, raising over $119,000.

“Real street people open eyes of city’s elite at CEO Sleepout”

By: Staff Writer           Posted: 09/28/2013 1:00 AM

“ONE hundred of the city’s movers and shakers spent a chilly evening sleeping outside at Portage and Main on Thursday night to raise cash and awareness for Winnipeg’s homeless.

The community and business leaders were taking part in the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s third annual CEO Sleepout, which supports programs to get people off the streets and into decent jobs and housing.

Along with huddling together in sleeping bags at the historic intersection, the CEOs, politicians and media personalities were treated to soup and coffee from a Salvation Army truck and toured local agencies serving the homeless.

Their eyes were opened during a midnight tour of Siloam Mission, a sort of one-stop shop for the homeless, providing food, shelter, medical services, art programs and help finding jobs.

Together, they helped raise $191,644 to employ people who are homeless. Organizers had set a fundraising goal of $150,000. Now, they’re shooting to shatter the $200,000 mark.

“I am personally overwhelmed by the generosity of Winnipeggers and the passion shown by our CEOs and community leaders who rallied around this event and this cause,” said Stefano Grande, Downtown BIZ executive director, who also slept out.

“I can feel this is just the start of real change happening in terms of homelessness and poverty issues in our city.”

Siloam executive director Floyd Perras, who took part in the sleep-out, told the visitors the most important things the mission provides are dignity and a sense of community.

For much of the night, the participants, instead of sleeping, chatted with a trickle of homeless Winnipeggers who dropped by the event in front of 201 Portage Ave. for a cup of coffee and a bite to eat.

A homeless man who gave his name as Brad offered the event participants a glimpse of life on the streets, saying he and his ailing wife survive by sleeping in local parking garages, even in winter.

He said he appreciates the work of the downtown BIZ helping find housing and jobs for the homeless. He added his Christian faith is one of the few things that sustains him.

The sleep-out is over, but donations can still be made at”

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 28, 2013 B1












































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