The Pittsburgh Foundation

The Lois Tack Thompson Fund

Established: 12/20/1984

Lois was a very private person who preferred to spend her time in quiet, charitable pursuits. She was especially fond of animals, dogs in particular; her own two dogs were her constant companions.

During her lifetime, Lois established a small fund of about $20,000 with The Pittsburgh Foundation and took an active interest in learning all about the charities to which she was giving. She was always dignified and elegant, taking a very no nonsense approach to the task, the staff recalls. She attended Foundation-sponsored events and always asked intelligent questions.

One Christmas she called the Foundation to say that she was considering 12 different requests from homeless shelters. Which should she choose? The Foundation staff told her about a new shelter for the most down-and-out women that was struggling to keep its doors opens.

"That's just the one I want to help," she said. "I want to do the best thing possible with what I have."

When Lois passed away on March 12, 1991, The Pittsburgh Foundation received a bequest to the fund of $15 million, the largest gift from an individual donor in The Foundation's history at that time.

Lois grew up in Sewickley. Her father, Harry S. Tack, was president of American Oil Development Company, a man who expressed concern for the needs of handicapped children during his lifetime. The Harry S. Tack Education Center in Sewickley was named in his honor and serves the educational needs of preschool and elementary aged handicapped children.

Lois requested that the fund provide assistance to the blind, regardless of age, and serve organizations caring for unwanted animals. Among those to receive funding is Camp Bark & Meow, a summer day camp for visually handicapped children, a perfect blend of both areas of concern. Through the fund, students from the Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind are able to learn and play with a variety of pets.

Type of Fund

  • Unrestricted