Industry leaders prepare for charity event

by Madison Utley25 Apr 2019

Chief executives from banks, aggregators, and lenders are among those planning to once again sleep outside over one of the longest and coldest nights of the year to raise money for charity.

Since 2006, Vinnies CEO Sleepout events have been hosted across the country in a show of support for the many Australians experiencing homelessness. Each participant commits to raising thousands of dollars to help fund new and existing initiatives, as well as expand the reach of programs already offered.

Last year, the event raised $6.9m and included focus groups and conversations with homeless people to bring awareness to the issues that they face on a daily basis.

Vinnies is aiming to make “an even bigger impact” this year, a goal made possible with an influx of new participants such as Jean-Pierre Gortan, MD of Simplicity Loans and Advisory, who explained his excitement at qualifying to take part for the first time this year.

“I’ve always wanted to get more involved in the community. This event gives the chance to utilise the network that I’ve built to provide fundraising and give back,” he said.

To Gortan, the event is unique in that it requires true engagement with the issue at hand.

“It’s easy to donate money. It’s a detached form of support,” he said.

However, stepping outside of one’s regular schedule and giving both time and emotional energy is crucial for leaders who “care about more than just business” and are hoping to make a lasting difference.

Another first-timer, Stephen Mitchell, CEO of Resicom & Oak Capital, agreed saying, “It’s very easy to get caught up in the day to day, especially in the business of financing people and lending money. It’s easy to forget that there are others out there who have lost everything and can’t get themselves back on their feet without help.”

“Looking around the city of Melbourne, homelessness is becoming an ever-worsening problem and I thought I should get involved,” he continued.

According to the event website, there are over 116,000 Australians currently experiencing homelessness due to a range of complex social issues.

Sleepouts will be held in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Gold Coast, Launceston, Melbourne, Newcastle, Sydney and Wollongong on 20 June, as well as Geelong and Perth on 27 June.

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