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New yogurt franchise gives to Haiti and the homeless

Who: T.J. Tedesco, majority owner.

Orange Leaf Frozen

Charitable giving highlights: Since opening in August, the company has given $2,130 to charities.

How is the company’s philanthropy related to the business?

My wife and I and two other friends decided we wanted to create a kind of business that we would want our kids to be a part of. We searched around and found this really cool franchise called Orange Leaf based out of Oklahoma City, Okla. We opened our first store in August. We are grateful for what we have in our lives and so we want to do whatever we can to give back, no matter how big or small.

What philanthropic activities do you do?

We have delivered 85 pajama sets to the nonprofit A Wider Circle, which amounts to a $1,500 donation. Another charity that we are heavily involved with is the Build Haiti Foundation. We have scheduled a benefit night for the foundation where 20 percent of store receipts will go to the foundation. We have done four other of those kinds of events for the Girl Scouts, Bells Mills Elementary School, the Beverly Farms Elementary School Parent Teacher Associations and Lucky Dog Animal Rescue.

Many new companies wait a few years before starting to give back. What influenced you to start doing so right away?

We are four like-minded people. Our friendship is based on these principles of giving back. We wanted to do this because we believe in the missions of our primary organizations.

How do you choose the charities?

It’s usually through personal contact. My wife met Mark Bergel [of A Wider Circle] and was invited to join the organization. At the Build Haiti Foundation, I met the founder Jean-Robert Anantua through another company. When I was transferring at an airport in Philadelphia, I was looking up at the news of the Haiti earthquake struck. I immediately called Jean-Robert and asked if he was OK. He wasn’t. It was at that specific moment that I got involved.

How does the giving process work?

Often it happens through happenstance. Our store manager will be approached by an organization, and then the owners do the due diligence to ensure they are legitimate groups.

— Interview with Vanessa Small



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