UnTours’ founders, Hal and Norma Taussig, were decades ahead of their time!
The UnTours Foundation was established quietly in 1992 by Hal [1924 – 2016] and Norma [1923 – 2015] Taussig, the founders of UnTours .the tour company that pioneered apartment vacations in the 1970s and went on to become the world’s first B Corporation.
Hal and Norma were never motivated by money. When running UnTours, Hal worked to share the company’s profits with his customers and later with his staff. As he tried to give away his profits, he faced incredulous and confused customers and other hurdles that at times resembled a Hollywood comedy.
In an effort to smartly manage his generosity, he settled on the idea of a foundation. Hal and Norma started the Idyll Development Foundation discreetly. It operated quietly for years, changing its name to the Untours Foundation to match its successful partner travel business.
This “secret” foundation, which focused on microlending at the start, was uncovered in 1999 when Paul Newman and John F. Kennedy, Jr. named UnTours the “Most Generous Company in America” and awarded Hal’s foundation $250,000 in prize money.
All the while, Norma and Hal continued to live simply: wearing thrift store clothes, composting their food scraps, and shoehorning the UnTours staff into their home for parties. Meanwhile, the profits of their travel company seeded small business development, Fair Trade, and job creation through the foundation.
In a final act of generosity, Hal arranged for the UnTours Foundation to inherit the travel business, which remains a generous supporter of the foundation.
Our timeline shows how the UnTours Foundation as we know it today is the legacy of the rich life and profound values of our founders. We are proud stewards of this legacy and have set for ourselves the ambitious goal to continue to evolve and grow our mission to serve an ever-changing world, guided by our strong her/history.