Imagine a major fundraiser without an expensive venue, expensive dinners or major television coverage. Now imagine the organizers of that fundraiser asking top executives and local leaders to do something unheard of. Although many may consider this concept unrealistic, it is exactly what the Executive Director of Covenant House California is doing. That man, Bill Bedrossian, runs one of the most significant organizations in the state and he and his team have created the “Sleep Out” event to help raise money and awareness for their cause – the plight of homeless youth.
This year’s “Sleep Out: Executive Edition” event was held on Thursday, November 20 and was made successful with the help of some of LA’s top power players. The concept for “Sleep Out” is unique and challenging. Covenant House asks local executives not to give money, but to give an evening of their time and spend that evening sleeping on the street so they get a better understanding of what homeless youth face each and every night. In addition, these executives are asked to reach out to those they know and ask for donations to support their efforts. Each participant is given the goal of raising $5,000, but as Bedrossian points out, many take it upon themselves to raise their own goal and come in with $10,000 or even $20,000. Bedrossian also puts his body where his mouth is and this year he was right out there alongside the other participants and the homeless youth.
The event receives a great deal of publicity, mainly because the executives are in a situation many would never dream of being in, and the public is fascinated with how the privileged handle adverse situations. The participants are not pampered in any way and the experience is as realistic as it can be. As Bedrossian put it, “It’s a pretty raw experience out there. We set up a place for them to sleep outside our site in Hollywood, and they sleep on cardboard just like a homeless youth has to. We give them a sleeping bag and that’s about it.” Prior to the night on the street, the participants are given the chance to tour the Covenant House California facility, and throughout the night they are able to interact with homeless youth who relate their harrowing experiences.
This year’s Los Angeles event featured some of the top names in the business community including Fox’s Paul Hanneman, Paramount’s Liza Pano, Hudson Jeans’ Peter Kim, Global Holdings’ Sam Solakyan, Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert’s Jeremiah Reynolds and KPMG’s Omid Yazdi.
Covenant House has 27 locations across the North and Central America and this year, the organization staged “Sleep Out” events in 12 North American cities. In fact, in New York City one of the participants was the General Manager of the New York Yankees, Brian Cashman.
More information is available at the Covenant House California website by visiting http://covenanthousecalifornia.org/. Media inquiries can be directed to Bill Bedrossian at 323.461.3131. The organization also has a presence on Facebook and Twitter.
Company Name: Covenant House
Contact Person: Steve Daniels
Phone: 323-461-3131 x280
Country: United States