Seventy-one of the city’s top business and community leaders slept out recently and raised more than $1 million to support our youth and life-changing programs. With only a sleeping bag and cardboard, participants in our fourth annual Covenant House Executive Sleep Out spent the night on the cold pavement in freezing temperatures.
Led by Honorary Chair Jeffrey Orridge, CFL commissioner, participants included Carmen Fortino, Metro Ontario division head and senior vice president; Doug Mizzi, TJX Canada president; Christina Woronchak, American Express Global Business Travel vice president, business development; Dan Payne, a star of CTV’s Alice I Think!; Patrick Nangle, Purolator president; Amanda Lang, journalist; Police Chief Mark Saunders; and Event Committee Chair Duncan Hannay, president, Davis & Henderson Ltd.
Participants join current youth, staff and alumni for a dinner of chilli and shepherd’s pie just like a meal that kids staying with us would enjoy. Through conversations, presentations and tours, the executives learn about the daily lives and struggles of our youth, the circumstances that led them to our doors, and ways they can help and advocate for them.
“Last night was only a small glimpse of the hardship homeless kids can face on the street,” says our Executive Director Bruce Rivers who also slept out. “We are so grateful for the tremendous support this event receives from the business community to help us raise funds and to shed light on the plight of homeless youth.”
To date, our Executive Sleep Out event in Toronto has raised almost $3.3 million. As well as much-needed funds for support, the event has raised significant media awareness for the issue of youth homelessness.
Events were also held at Covenant House locations in 16 other cities across the United States and Canada, including Vancouver. Over 1,000 executives participated raising over $6 million for homeless youth.