THE BLOG

Helping the Homeless Sleep With a Purpose

10/01/2012 08:34 pm ET | Updated Dec 01, 2012

A good night's sleep makes all the difference. When you're homeless, any sleep would make a difference; a bed to sleep on, I would imagine, is what dreams are made of. Making dreams come true for many people transitioning out of homelessness across America is the mission of a new social enterprise called Sleep With a Purpose (SWAP).

Purporting a one-for-one sales model, made famous by TOMS, Sleep with a Purpose is a for-profit, mission-based social enterprise that promises to donate one bed, for every bed sold, to a person transitioning out of homelessness.

Proving that philanthropy can be sustainable as well as profitable, Sleep With a Purpose's objective is to supply a new bed, for every bed sold, to organizations that support Permanent Supportive Housing and other low cost housing initiatives. SWAP's objective is to ensure that everyone receives the dignity and comfort of a good night's sleep, regardless of their financial situation.

I recently met Josh Helland, founder of Sleep With a Purpose, whilst we were both volunteering (surprise, surprise) as mentors for another charitable foundation in New York. I was moved by his enthusiasm and resolve in helping those less fortunate than himself achieve a good nights rest. I for one, am crabby, incoherent and all around not the measure of the person I normally am if I haven't gotten a good night's sleep. I can't imagine what multiple sleepless nights would do to a person. Josh Helland can and wants to ensure that that this doesn't happen.

Sleep With a Purpose has ambitious goals for the future partnering with various organizations around the U.S. including real estate firms, universities, corporations and hotels to be their official or preferred mattress provider as well as offering exclusive discounts to students, alumni, employees and clients of these organizations to increase sales and consequently increase their volume of donated beds.

Helland found inspiration to create this mission based venture whilst helping launch the not-for-profit organization A Good Nights Sleep (AGNS). A Good Nights Sleep is based on a similar premise of providing beds to people transitioning out of homelessness but relies on donations and fundraising to ensure its existence. Sleep With a Purpose is a more sustainable model, as it builds the cost of producing the donated bed into the retail product. If a company's philanthropy tells you what it is at its core then Sleep With a Purpose is one of the most moral and fundamentally kind businesses I've seen established in the States to date. Partnering with some of the largest retailers in the country, Sleep With a Purpose could possibly be the nation's leading social impact company in the comings years, giving individuals in need, back the most rudimentary part of their life -- a good night's sleep.