Frank O’Dea’s life went off the rails in his early teens. Within a few years, he was living in 50-cent-a-night flop houses in Toronto’s bowery district where simply surviving was a challenge.
Against all odds, at the age of 23 and with the courage to hope for a better life, Frank began the long road back. Fighting the formidable obstacles that hold back the homeless, the impoverished and the destitute, he overcame and rejoined society.
Then, as if that were not enough, he turned that same determination to the many obstacles in life that we all face. Within a few short years, he co-founded The Second Cup, which soon became the largest chain of gourmet coffees and teas in the country. Building on that success, he went on to co-found Proshred Security, a company that pioneered the entire industry of on-site document destruction. This company soon became an international organization with franchised operations in Canada, Europe and the United States.
Early on, Frank took steps to give back to the community. He began by serving on the boards of directors for charities and not-for-profit organizations. In 1985 he co-founded Street Kids International, an organization developed to help homeless children in third world countries, through education and self-reliance programs.
A few years later, he became the founding Chair of War Child (Canada), an organization that provides assistance against the suffering and abuse of children in war-affected countries. In the same year, Frank co-founded the Canadian Landmine Foundation, an organization that raises funds for the dismantling of minefields around the world. He went on to initiate that organization’s most successful fund raising program, “Night of a Thousand Dinners”, with participation of people in 29 countries, raising millions of dollars.
Frank is currently serves on the board of directors of a number of private corporations and not-for-profits.
His inspiring story is retold in his book, “When All You Have is Hope” published by Penguin and available through this website or in bookstores across the country.