It’s that time of the year again … cold, dark nights and CEOs from Australia’s major companies roughing it out in the name of raising funds for St Vincents.
It’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout time (22 June). And a keen supporter of the event is Marsh CEO Scott Leney, who is now in his fourth year raising money – and awareness – for homelessness.
“Like insurance, I fell into it,” he told IRP. “Originally, this was something my former CEO was going to do. Through a series of circumstances, he couldn’t and asked me if I could stand it. So that is how I became involved.”
Over the last three years, Leney has raised more than $74,000 for the cause. But with homeless rates continuing to rise, he is determined to make 2017 the biggest fundraising year yet and has set himself an ambitious target of$35,000.
“There are over 105,000 people who are homeless in any given night in Australia. 44 per cent are women 13 per cent are kids under the age of 12. The numbers are getting larger – it’s a real problem in society and something that Vinnies … through the Sleepout, do such a good job to raise awareness of and provide support to the homeless.”
So what’s it like? “People always ask me what it’s like, was it hard, and I don’t like talking about that, it’s not really about the hardship of a bunch of CEOs who get to go home and freshen up and have a hot meal and spend time with loved ones,” he says.
“Last year at our fundraising event – in a room full of business people – I said, ‘Given the stats there would more than likely be at least one of us in the room who at some point in our lives have experienced homelessness.’ What was interesting was at the end of the night, a young man came up to me dressed in a suit and tie and said ‘I’m so glad you said what you did then because I’ve been homeless, and if it wasn’t for people like you and organisations that you represent and help, and infrastructure that institutions like St Vincent’s have put in place, I simply wouldn’t have made it.’.
“I believe that most people are victims of circumstance. It can just as easily be me or you in their shoes.”
This month Leney will kick off fundraising activities, including the popular trivia night hosted by Marsh. And you can support Leney’s efforts here.