The Sun International CEO SleepOut is a socially innovative initiative that gets South African leaders like Gavin Varejes to spend a night on the street for charity. CEO SleepOut was launched with the aim of reinventing the way we approach philanthropy. Since the initiative started in 2015 it has distributed a total of R34 million to various beneficiaries.
The funds collected with the SleepOut are generally directed at vulnerable communities in South Africa. The money raised thus far has mainly gone to beneficiaries that focus on up-skilling youth and educators, and included The Steve Biko Foundation, Columba Leadership and The Asha Trust. Secondary beneficiaries included charities like Gift of Givers, The Salvation Army and Homeless Talk.
More than Money
CEOs Brett Levy, Gavin Varejes and Paul Dunne managed to raise the biggest amount of money at the 2016 event, but the SleepOut isn't only about fund raising. In addition to the money that was raised, all items used at the event were recycled back into the community the morning after the event. More than 1,000 homeless people were invited to help themselves to the food, sleeping bags, blankets and other items used by the participants. Even the shelters that housed the activities throughout the night of the event were donated to local communities in need. Over 600 books were also collected for various beneficiaries like the Lesedi Daycare Centre in Alexandra Township.
The social impact of the event was and continues to be immense. Local schools have become involved by collecting food, technology, stationery and clothing for other schools that lack resources. The Social Return on Investment (SROI) of the event has been substantial over the years. In 2015 it stood at 1:3.15, which means that a social impact of R3.15 was realised for every R1 raised. This is more than a 300% return on investment and these numbers are expected to continue to rise.
Gavin Varejes is the CEO of Richmark Holdings LTD and the President of SARLA (South African Rugby Legends association)