The profits for The RIGHT Vacation Rental, an Untours product line, go towards funding the Untours Foundation (IDF). Most of Untours's profits are given to the foundation for the purpose of social investing. The travel company and foundation owners, Norma & Hal Taussig, believe in living simply and in sharing the profits of their business to create a better world. In 1999, they won an award from Paul Newman and John F. Kennedy, Jr., for having the Most Generous Business in the United States.
The Untours Foundation provides low-interest loans here and abroad. Loans are issued to individuals and organizations in order to create jobs, build low-income housing, and support Fair Trade products all through the most environmentally friendly means possible. ("Fair Trade" is a certification given to coffee and other products where the producers and workers are guaranteed a fair price and wage, consumers are guaranteed superior products and land is farmed in a sustainable way.)
The foundation's interest rate on loans is one of the lowest in the world: normally the U.S. inflation rate. Most loan recipients have no collateral or track record necessary to borrow money through conventional lending institutions. Through giving loans and not grants, the foundation provides a "hand up" and not a "hand out". The concept of low interest loans is timely with the United Nations declaring 2005 The International Year of Microcredit.
Paul Newman has said of the foundation, "Untours' giving is creative in every sense of the word. Their low-interest loans literally create jobs among the hard-core unemployed and housing in decaying urban centers."
Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream has said of Hal Taussig and the foundation, "What makes Hal so special is that he combines real kindness and compassion with that practical business side and that, I think, is the key to making a difference."
The foundation's portfolio is quite eclectic. Loans range in size from $6,000 to $250,000.
See a sampling of the 40 loans.