On Thursday 18 June business and community leaders around Australia will sleep out for Vinnies biggest fundraiser of the year, the Vinnies CEO Sleepout.

Every participant is driven to support Vinnies quest to end homelessness, but some have very personal reasons for their engagement.

Robert Kelly, CEO of the Steadfast Group, will be braving the cold alongside a group of finance and insurance executives on the top floor of the Macquarie Building in Sydney.

Mr Kelly, who finished as the highest fundraiser at the Sydney event last year, drew on his own family history as a major reason for his commitment in supporting Vinnies’ homelessness services.

“As a child I saw my grandfather struggle with alcoholism and homelessness, and gain support from Vinnies at the Matthew Talbot Hostel,” said Mr Kelly.

Dr Caroline Hong, CEO of CH Asia Australia Investment Opportunities Australia, has her own story with poverty and homelessness.

Experiencing homelessness as a child in Malaysia following the collapse of her family’s business, Dr Caroline Hong has gone on to enjoy a successful health and business career in Australia.

“No one thinks they’ll end up homeless,” explain Caroline, “you don’t realise just how fast your circumstances change when it’s happening to you.”

“Having lived without a stable place to sleep as a child, I’m so thankful that organisations like Vinnies are there to support people when they need it most.”

Dr Hong rarely talks about her past but has participated in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout event for over 10 years and has raised over $100,000 to support Vinnies homelessness services.

“There is a growing percentage of our population that get into hardship through no cause of their own,” said Mr Kelly.

“A small amount of money donated by a lot of people will be directly helpful to people who need a bed for the night, a good feed and some clean clothes.”

‘Without the generosity of those people participating in and sponsoring the Vinnies CEO Sleepout we wouldn’t be able to run the breadth of services we do,’ said Barnie van Wyk, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn.

‘We work with people experiencing homelessness, providing food and material aid to those sleeping rough as well as helping them find secure housing. But we also offer programs to assist in breaking the cycle of poverty and offering pathways out of poverty and homelessness,’ he said.

Vinnies CEO Sleepout is a national event occurring 18 June 2020 raising funds for Vinnies services and highlighting the issue of homelessness.

15 June 2020

To donate visit www.ceosleepout.org.au and to watch the live stream of the event go to live.createengage.com.au/VinniesCEOSleepout2020