15/06/2015 - 14:03

CEOs last dash for Sleepout funding

15/06/2015 - 14:03

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Many of Perth’s top executives are short of their fundraising targets just three days before the year's major homelessness fundraiser, the CEO Sleepout.

Barry Felstead is yet to hit his $150,000 fundraising target. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Many of Perth’s top executives are short of their fundraising targets just three days before the year's major homelessness fundraiser, the CEO Sleepout.

Their efforts mirror those of the record number of participants taking part this year, with only $465,000 raised so far, compared with $1.2 million collected at the end of the event last year.

St Vincent de Paul Society of WA chief executive Mark Fitzpatrick urged Western Australians to dig deep ahead of the sleepout, on Thursday at the Waca Ground.

“We know that the economic climate is a bit tough, but that also means for the people that we’re trying to help there’s more of them; and they’re actually in further hardships than they’ve ever been before,” Mr Fitzpatrick said.

“What we’re asking people to do is dig deep, donate as much as they can to the CEOs who are actually helping the homeless in WA, because all of the money that’s raised goes into homeless services in Perth and only one in six of our homeless services is actually government funded.”

Mr Fitzpatrick said the 130 participants registered for the annual event, which aims to promote awareness and raise funds to combat homelessness, were likely to experience a more distressing night than usual on the 18th.

“According to the weather bureau the CEOs may be braving thunderstorms on Thursday, so it’s going to be tough for some of the participants; but not as tough as those we’re trying to help,” he said.

Even within the ranks of the top 10, which includes chief executives from Crown Perth Barry Felstead and Minderoo Foundation Nicola Forrest, participants have raised less than 58 per cent of their combined targets.

Front runner Mr Felstead is yet to raise almost two thirds of his $150,000 target while second place Ms Forrest is $900 short of her $29,000 target.

More than 1,700 people have supported the top 50 candidates by making a donation.

There are about 10,000 homeless people living around Perth’s streets, while more than 105,000 people experience homelessness across Australia each year.

Business News has previously reported how personal the fundraising event is to many of its participants including head of residential construction group Ball Point Shane Ball, who narrowly avoided becoming homeless 15 years ago and this year will be raising funds for the CEO Sleepout for the sixth time.

Mr Felstead, who has also been involved in the fundraiser every year since its WA inception six years ago, said in April that being involved in the cause had deeply affected him.

“I put a lot of time into it, it certainly has changed my life, it makes you more aware and it also makes you feel very lucky to be in a position where you do have a roof over your head,” he said.

Mr Felstead has upped the fundraising ante this year, with a goal to raise $150,000, about $50,000 more than he attracted last year.

He said he had called in favours, cajoled family, friends and colleagues to secure more than 350 donations last year, after appealing to about 500 people.

“It’s about raising awareness and getting more in tune with what’s going on out there, because quite often it’s very easy as a company just to write a cheque and forget about it. This is a way to get a lot more involved,” Mr Felstead said.

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