The business leaders sleeping on a sheet of cardboard for the Vinnies CEO Sleepout next week are not under any illusions that the homeless fundraiser replicates the experience of living on the street.
Together they will raise millions of dollars for the country’s 100,000 homeless people, and publishers will be leading the charge.
The Australian CEO Nicholas Gray raised $13,000 personally for the St Vincent de Paul Society appeal last year, and he hopes to raise a similar amount this year.
The paper itself is running a special promotion on Saturday with 50 cents from the cover price going directly to the appeal, which should generate around $115,000.
Mr Gray will be joined by Fairfax company secretary Gail Hambly, Adelaide’s Advertiser business editor Chris Russell, News Corp South Australia regional director Ish Davies and AAP CEO Bruce Davidson.
“It’s important that we take an active role in community initiatives,” Mr Gray said.
Mr Gray said he was shocked to find out how many people were homeless in Australia, and said it could happen to anyone.
“You fall behind in your rent, you lose your job, your relationship or marriage breaks down and it can be a slippery slope,” he said.
The CEOs will receive a piece of cardboard from Visy, some soup and bread and sleep on the concrete outdoors at Luna Park next Thursday night.
Before getting settled they will hear Vinnies workers talk about homelessness, and the executives who have raised the most money for the cause will be recognised.
“My hope is we sell a few thousand extra papers on Saturday as a result [of the promotion]. But even if we don’t, even if it’s just a normal sale, we’ll be able to raise a significant amount of money for this.”
To donate to the appeal or sponsor a CEO, visit ceosleeout.org.au.