The Untours Foundation was founded quietly in 1993 by Hal and Norma Taussig, owners of Untours, a unique travel company located in Media, Pennsylvania. They decided to channel profits of Untours to the Foundation, instead of putting them into their bank account. In a final act of generosity, they arranged for the Untours Foundation to inherit the travel business, which now provides over $50,000 a year in in-kind support to the Foundation.
Since its founding, Untours Foundation has loaned over $8 million to small businesses around the world that alleviate poverty and solve social and environmental problems in pioneering ways. In 1999, Paul Newman and John F. Kennedy Jr. awarded Untours with the title “Most Generous Company in America.”
Get to know our late Founders, Hal and Norma Taussig, our Board of Directors and our Staff and Consultants.
Untours Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
“The Untours Foundation is not your plain, vanilla foundation. It’s more like a banana split — with a side of firecrackers.”
Ben Cohen, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream
By giving loans rather than grants, Untours can recycle and reuse funding to support new businesses. Our endowment is 100% invested in mission-aligned businesses and projects at all times.
The Untours Foundation works to alleviate poverty by providing low-interest loans or equity to individuals and organizations who create employment, housing and valuable goods and services in economically challenged communities. Untours fuels projects that are environmentally and economically pioneering, setting new models for which all businesses can strive.
Untours’ founders, Hal and Norma Taussig, walked to the beat of a different drummer.
Several decades ago, Hal (1924 – 2016) decided that he did not want to accumulate wealth. This decision included a resolution to try to be a responsible steward, using his financial resources to promote social and economic justice. His first attempt to share his wealth was when he refunded an entire year’s profits to surprised clients of Untours travel. Many clients thought he was crazy, but everyone cashed their checks!
He then turned to a different approach, one which lasted a decade. He began paying all Untours employees the same monthly wage, and at the end of each year, divided all profits equally between his employees – including himself and Norma. Grousing from some employees with seniority became an increasing problem with this egalitarian approach.
Hal then created the Untours Foundation in 1992, and since that time, practically all of the tour company’s after-tax profits have gone to the foundation.
Norma Taussig (1923 – 2015), Hal’s wife and the co-owner of Untours, strongly supported these developments, often leading the way. Like Hal, she believed in “change, not charity,” especially as this concept applied to funding small inner-city businesses that created lasting change and could be duplicated by others.
Norma and Hal lived a simple life in their small home, hanging their clothes on a line, composting their food scraps, and loving to shoehorn the Untours staff into their home for parties!