Our director, Elizabeth, was invited to write a piece about impact investing and risk, a specialty of the Untours Foundation since its inception. The Untours Foundation has no endowment, but rather directly invests in businesses that are doing good, solving problems, creating good jobs for those who need them most while helping the planet.
It is little wonder that the Untours Foundation is noted for taking risks since we were founded by an original risk taker. Hal Taussig, Sr. (1924 – 2016) was just starting to make serious profits through his travel company, Untours, when he decided to create a foundation and give away all his money. ALL of his money. Hal kept one pair of shoes, one perfectly fitted suit that he bought at Salvation Army for $5, one gorgeous bike that his Untours staff gifted him, one unfailing sense of humor, and a substantial number of political t-shirts that became his daily uniform. He lived in a modest house and eventually retired on Social Security, confident that his risk had paid off in rich rewards – for himself and the world.
We carry this torch as risk takers at the Untours Foundation by investing our modest pot of capital with entrepreneurs who create jobs for vulnerable populations, solve social and economic problems, and take seriously that our earth is about ready to shed us all unless we make some significant changes. Banks will not touch this crop of generous, hardworking, super creative entrepreneurs, so the Untours Foundation and angel investors have them largely to ourselves. We throw our weight behind these entrepreneurs because they are solving problems faster than just about anyone we see on the horizon. read more