As many fundraisers know, there is often very little information out there about private foundations, even the larger funders. The funders release very little about themselves, and usually have no online presence.

This is unfortunate, as many of the foundations have people behind them with fascinating stories and compelling legacies.

One example is the Tesari Charitable Foundation, a private foundation started by Michael Arthur Overs. Overs was a very successful Canadian businessman that passed away last year at the age of 70. While his name might not be well known to those outside the business world, the source of his wealth certainly is: the national pizza chain Pizza Pizza, with its memorable phone number and several important innovations (the first centralized call center and insulated delivery bags).

Overs started the franchise in Toronto on December 31, 1967 with a single store. The restaurant chain expanded throughout the next few decades, focusing on Toronto before moving into the rest of Ontario. The company went nation-wide in the later 2000s. Overs passed away in April 2010 of cancer, and his son-in-law Paul Goddard assumed the role of CEO at Pizza Pizza.

Overs’s approach to philanthropy is an example of the low-profile behaviour of most private foundations: his initial endowment of $20 million to the Tesari Charitable Foundation was made without any announcement, even though it caused his company to post $7 million losses for 2005. His Chief Financial Officer stated that it was because Overs was “a private person”. Six years later, it is still not easy to find information about the Foundation.

The Foundation has funded a wide range of causes, from larger organizations such as the the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Foundation, to the newer, and very unique, Donkey Sanctuary of Canada. It has given to charities in the areas of health, social services, and international development with a strong focus on Ontario non-profits. However, like many private foundations, its giving is varied enough to interest other Ontario organizations seeking new funders.

Go check out our profile for the Tesari Charitable Foundation on our free online demo to learn more about them.

Tesari Funder Profile