In 1985, Thomas M. Owens established the Thomas and Mary Owens Foundation after taking his company, XL/Datacomp, Inc. public. This was his way to give back. He believed that “to whom much is given; much is expected.” The Owens Foundation provides grants and outreach to Chicagoland non-profit organizations that focus on alleviating poverty and providing hope and opportunity to those affected by poverty. Grants are also provided for educational opportunities for at-risk youth.
In mid-1991, Tom began to devote his energies to the homeless plight in the Chicago area, founding Cara Chicago, which provides quality training, employment and support to motivated individuals experiencing poverty, homelessness and previous incarceration. Since its inception in 1991, Cara Chicago has placed more than 9000 motivated individuals into quality jobs with some of Chicago’s top companies.
Tom is Chairman Emeritus for Cara Chicago. He has been inducted into Leo High School’s Hall of Fame and this November, 2018 he will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from Leo. He has also been honored with a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Dominican University in 2007. He is a life Trustee for the Catholic Theological Union Board of Trustees. Tom was Co-Chairman at The Emergency Fund, now All Chicago for ten years. He has been the recipient of many awards, including The Distinguished Public Service Award from the Union League Club of Chicago. He was given the Venerable Mary Potter Humanitarian Award at Little Company of Mary Hospital’s Crystal Heart Ball. The Illinois Commission on Diversity and Human Relations awarded him the Martin Luther King, Jr. Award in 2011. In 2015, Tom was the recipient of the Distinguished Philanthropist Award given by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.