Dear UnTours family,
It’s our 30th birthday! Funny that our “birth” was basically unplanned and surprising, even to our beloved founder, Hal Taussig. How could that be?! Well, the foundation was a last-ditch solution for Hal.
Hal lived by his own maxim that “it’s not how much you give away, it’s how little you keep.” This kept him busy for decades as he worked to share his wealth.
The journey started when Hal returned profits to the UnTourists who had traveled with him. But many called him to say he was crazy, though everyone cashed their checks! Tired of the phone calls, Hal abandoned that practice and started paying all his staff the same amount, including himself, and instituted annual profit-sharing. That worked for 10 years but led to problems when there were no profits during the first Gulf War, when few UnTourists traveled.
Next, our intrepid Hal tried selling UnTours to his staff, but various issues blocked the sale. So, Hal finally settled on a permanent solution: creating our foundation to be home for 100% of UnTours’ profits. This was actually a hard choice for Hal since he equated foundations with “charity,” not “change.” But at his new foundation, Hal worked for change by investing foundation funds in businesses tackling poverty issues.
Hal kept the foundation his secret project. But those quiet days ended abruptly in ’99, when he won $250,000 from Paul Newman and JFK, Jr. for having the Most Generous Company in America. The secret was out!
When Hal died a few years ago, he made his final act of radical generosity by transferring ownership of UnTours to the foundation, solidifying the relationship between the two entities for the long-term. Since then, we’ve been committed to continuing the original mission and growing our impact. With the help of our committed donors, we’re proud to have succeeded in that goal!
All told, through over 350 loans and a few equity investments, lots of technical assistance, and plenty of love, the UnTours Foundation has invested nearly $10M into world-changing entrepreneurs and businesses during our 30-year history. Just as importantly, we sparked the B Corp movement (with UnTours being the World’s First B Corp), launched the U.S. Fair Trade Town Movement, and are now helping other foundations to move their endowments out of things that harm the earth and into things that are solving many of our problems.
Thank you for being on this journey with us. We’re gearing up for the next 30 years and your gifts allow us to be that much more impactful!
With love and gratitude,
Elizabeth & Jonathan
UnTours Foundation Co-CEOs
Celebrating A Few Of Our Most Impactful Investees Over The Years
EQUAL EXCHANGE | Investment Years: 1998, 1999, 2004, 2009
When we first invested in Equal Exchange back in 1998, they were a small co-op with just a few employees and operating at the leading edge of the nascent Fair Trade coffee movement. Today, they have over 100 worker-owners sourcing from 40 farmer cooperatives around the world to bring products like chocolate, tea, and fresh fruit to your local grocery store. We’ve loved to see their growth over the years – in both revenue and impact!
NEW DAY CHESTER | Investment Year: 2016
Chester, PA, is a historically neglected town on the outskirts of Philadelphia. It suffers from high rates of poverty and crime, but it is also a community whose residents abound with artistic energy and entrepreneurial creativity. Devon Walls’ New Day Chester guided the buying of an entire downtown block that had been boarded upfor decades, capturing the community’s passion for the arts to redevelop it in the community’s image. Our loan specifically helped to purchase and revitalize the MJ Freed Performing Arts Theater, a centerpiece to the redevelopment efforts.
OCEAN SOLE AFRICA | Investment Year: 2019
Turning ocean trash into unique and colorful works of art is Ocean Sole’s genius. This year alone, one million flip flops – the world’s most worn “shoe” – have been removed from the oceans and upcycled into one-of-a-kind collector pieces. Ocean Sole Africa has created jobs for the local community: 100 for Kenyan artists and income for 900 others, who scour the ocean shores for flip flops. Our loan helped them move into e-commerce in the US, which has been a huge success.
ANAONO | Investment Years: 2016, 2022
Sent home after breast cancer surgery with a “granny bra,” fashion designer Dana Donofree knew there had to be better bras to support women physically AND emotionally. Her line of beautiful, elegant, comfortable bras and clothing has blossomed into an amazing conversation and movement. You’ll find Dana along with other cancer patients and survivors on runways during NYC’s Fashion Week and once on the cover of INK Magazine, the #1 tattoo magazine! We were their first ever investor back in 2016 and just made another investment this year.
DIVINE CHOCOLATE | Investment Years: Nine loans, beginning in 2010
Chocolate tastes sweet, but the harvesting of cocoa is a bitter business, rife with exploitation of workers and farmers, many of whom are children. Divine not only treats their farmer partners well by paying fair prices and ensuring safe employment practices, they go a step beyond by granting partial ownership of their company to their farmer partners. Since our first loan back in 2010, we’ve seen Divine grow by leaps and bounds. Today, they are the world’s only Fair Trade chocolate company co-owned by farmers, they have become a Certified B Corporation, and their delicious products can be found in stores in nearly every town in the US and in many around the world.
WASH CYCLE LAUNDRY | Investment Years: 2012, 2014, 2017, 2019
What began as a bicycle laundry delivery service in Philly, when we made our first loan to founder, Gabriel Mandujano, back in 2012, has grown into a sizable commercial laundry operator and 2nd chance employer, with operations up and down the East Coast. They service hotels, gyms, salons, and spas – using environmentally friendly methods and providing jobs to people overcoming histories of homelessness, incarceration, and more.
This Year We Invested In…
AnaOno – Maker of undergarments for breast cancer survivors and host of a supportive community.
Divine Chocolate – Sellers of Fair Trade Certified chocolate. 45% of company owned by Fair Trade farmers.
Life Connections Peer Recovery Services – Encouraging and advancing community awareness to one of respect and trust through mental health and addiction recovery in Iowa.
GoPark Safaris – A Kenya-based tour operator focused on providing high-quality, once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences for their clients.
IMPAQTO Capital – Quito, Ecuador-based impact investment fund supporting locally-owned businesses in the Andean region that are generating positive social and environmental impact.
Knotty Tie – Makers of colorful and custom ties, scarves, facemasks, and home textiles, Knotty Tie works with a local organization to help train and employ resettled refugees in their community.
Purple Elephant Ventures – Nairobi-based venture studio creating multiple start-ups each year at the nexus of tourism, climate, and tech.
Ricinomex – Producer of castor oil in Oaxaca, Mexico, empowering 3,000 local small-holder farmers.
Senda Athletics – Producing Fair Trade Certified sports equipment, Senda focuses on soccer and futsal balls, along with equipment made for use in the streets. This B Corp funds initiatives that help low-wealth and underserved communities access sports programs.
Young Mountain Tea – Sustainably sourcing and raising the quality of tea from Indian and Nepali farmers to earn livable wages and raise their quality of life.
Meet more inspiring and world-changing entrepreneurs and brands!
4 Simple Ways to Give
We support world-changing businesses that create good jobs, improve the natural environment, and build stronger, more equitable communities – and we inspire more foundations to follow our lead. Your donations are vital to help grow our impact – both at home and around the world!
1. Make a One-time Donation
One-time gifts are the lifeblood of the UnTours Foundation. Each year, hundreds of supporters, UnTourists, and friends support our mission by writing a check or going online to make a donation. (Remember, you may donate appreciated stock or make a direct donation from an annual distribution of a retirement fund!)
2. Join the Taussig Society with Planned Giving
Taussig Society is a home for those who, like Hal, leave a lasting gift to the UnTours Foundation in support of entrepreneurs who are leaders in addressing poverty, injustice, and the climate crisis. Popular ways to leave a lasting gift to the UnTours Foundation are through will and legacy planning or donating through our Charitable Remainder Trust paying 5% annually. Learn more at
3. Become an UnDonorsCLUB Member
By choosing to join this monthly giving program, you are joining an important club. Your recurring donations allow us to plan for the future, stabilize our funding patterns, and get more money out the door and into the hands of the entrepreneurs we are here to serve. To top it all off, you get some awesome gifts and travel perks along the way! Learn more at untoursfoundation.org/undonors.
4. Travel on an UnTour
100% of the profits from UnTours are given to the foundation. This means that you can start checking destinations off your bucket list, have amazing and authentic cultural experiences, travel in comfort and with expert on-site support, all while supporting our groundbreaking work. This is a win-win for everyone! Book today at untours.com.