Finance executives were among those to participate in the first-ever online Vinnies CEO Sleepout held on 18 June 2020 to raise funds and awareness of homelessness in Australia.
While there was no minimum fundraising expectation for participants unlike in years past, in recognition of COVID-19's financial impact, the digital initiative still raised over $5.5m.
Senior executives from home loan platform Lendi were among those to participate, raising over $32,000 for Vinnies this year.
It was Lendi co-founder and CEO David Hyman's second year participating in the charity event.
“There are so many reasons that people end up experiencing homelessness and it’s important to remember that we always have a responsibility to help those less fortunate,” he said.
“I’m so proud of our leaders and the entire Lendi team who got behind this initiative to help raise these much needed funds.”
Mark Kalajzich, co-founder and chief product officer, also took part in the digital sleepout, tuning in from New Zealand.
“You can’t understand one's situation until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes," he said.
“I’m not sure sleeping outside for one night counts, but I learned a lot and it has certainly given me a strong perspective that we must do more to eradicate homelessness from Australian society."
According to Sebastian Watkins, co-founder and chief operating officer, spending the night outside was a “truly humbling experience” – a sentiment echoed by chief marketing officer Zara Cobb.
“2020 has been a rough year for many people, but we cannot forget about the most vulnerable members of the community who need our support now more than ever,” she added.