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London Beyond the Majestic and Stately

on Tue, 09/19/2017 - 12:50
London like a local

Well, with one exception, I would say that the wild parakeets of London carry their own majesty. But aside from meeting these marvelous birds, my London adventure this summer with my husband to visit our daughter, was anything but the London I’ve known in the past.

Although we did see the more traditional musical Matilda, we attended an interactive theater to experience Alice Underground. Down the rabbit hole, attending the tea party, holding hands in a crack-the-whip fashion up and down stairs, this theater experience was indeed active and interactive. It’s doubtful this show would even be legal in the US with all the frights and tripping opportunities, but what fun!

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Elizabeth in Switzerland: Two Weeks Without Luggage

on Tue, 08/15/2017 - 12:28
Swiss Untours vacations in Switerland

Ten years ago, our beloved Hal Taussig, my boss at the time, sent me on a Swiss Untour as part of my job. Quite a perk! Hal wanted me to experience his travel company in action, so I could prepare the board of the Untours Foundation to one day inherit the business.

The adventure began with Hans supplying me with dress size flannel shirts and size 12 high top sneakers. Hans accurately determined that the sneakers would stay on my feet, if laced tightly enough. And so our many Alpine hikes took place with me in what felt like clown shoes. With Hans leading the way and me in my big shoes, I felt we were Frick and Frack laughing as we went.

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Untours Foundation: Redesigning Philanthropy with the Triskeles Foundation

on Fri, 03/13/2015 - 09:10
Untours Foundation

When I wanted to set up a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) for the Untours Foundation, Hal said that was fine, but he didn’t want any funds invested in the stock market. That was like saying, “Of course you may host a dinner party, but no food may be involved.” He stumped me until I remembered the Triskeles Foundation director, Clemens Pietzner. I had heard he was a creative thinker in all things financial – and otherwise.

Clemens did not disappoint. He came up with a theoretical construct, which was all I needed to get started. And indeed, our Charitable Remainder Trust came to fruition and doesn’t invest in the stock market. Clemens takes a fresh look at philanthropy and investing. He’s been one of Hal’s heros – and of course one of mine having saved my CRT plans.

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Foundation Fridays: And the Winner is...........

on Fri, 11/14/2014 - 10:47
Wash Cycle Laundry receives another important award
Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman (left) presided over judging and participated in the award ceremony. Gabriel is second from the right.

..........Wash Cycle Laundry yet again! This time it has won first place and a $25,000 prize in a business competition sponsored by the Blackstone Group.

We met Wash Cycle Laundry founder and CEO Gabriel Mandujano when he spoke at a conference three years ago about how difficult it is for young businesses to attract capital. We provided a loan soon thereafter, which in turn attracted the equity that the company needed to grow.

Here’s a short video with the

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Foundation Fridays: By The Book & Buy The Book

on Fri, 07/11/2014 - 10:07
Here I am (looking a bit bug eyed) with Judy at the sneak preview of the trailer for "Dog Feed Dog." You'll get to see this hilarious and captivating trailer in a few weeks!

In recent years, Hal has been mentioned in a variety of books. The newest inclusion is in GOOD MORNING, BEAUTIFUL BUSINESS: The Unexpected Journey of an Activist Entrepreneur and Local Economy Pioneer by Hal’s friend, Judy Wicks. Read what happened in the late ‘90’s when Hal and Judy traveled with fellow business people to Chiapas, Mexico to purchase Fair Trade coffee and came face to face with the military! (That didn’t dissuade them from repeating the trip the following year only to have a run-in with para-military forces. Hal thought their numbers were up!)

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Foundation Fridays: Is Three A Crowd?

on Fri, 06/27/2014 - 11:45
Untours Foundation manager, Elizabeth Killough, and Cora founder, Molly Hayward

Apparently not! At least not when it comes to “crowdfunding,” which is the practice of funding a business or project by raising small amounts of money from large numbers of people. We think of it as a new idea, but the base for the Statue of Liberty is the result of crowdfunding, and I’m sure there are examples from across time.

Modern crowdfunding sets a financial goal and a period of time. If the goal is not met in that time, then no one puts in any money. It’s an all or nothing proposition.

Some of the businesses our foundation invests in have used crowdfunding, and one business we are

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Foundation Fridays: No Coin Toss Necessary

on Fri, 04/04/2014 - 09:55
Call it: heads or tails?

Untours and its foundation are two sides of the same coin – even when I am out of the loop.

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Foundation Fridays: Soap Suds and New Duds

on Fri, 03/28/2014 - 16:44
Untours founder, Hal Taussig, and Untours Foundation manager, Elizabeth Killough, sporting new hoodies from Wash Cycle Laundry

While Hal and I may promote simple living, I realize that he and I have never turned down gifts of new clothing, including florescent, personalized ones! We are now prepared to join the Wash Cycle Laundry bike fleet and pick up and deliver laundry.

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Foundation Fridays: Meet Shannon Davidson!

on Fri, 02/07/2014 - 09:32
Here's Shannon Davidson, Untours Foundation Communications Director, with her gorgeous children!

Shannon was a gift to me from my board, which saw better than I that I was drowning in work after Hal retired. Shannon was hired to be my amazing colleague, which she is indeed! A film editor by training, Shannon worked on several of Ken Burns’ film projects. You can see some of her handiwork through our lovely new website, which she designed.

Here’s Shannon…..

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Foundation Fridays: Hal Turns 89!

on Fri, 01/10/2014 - 10:11
Untours founder Hal Taussig celebrates his birthday with Untours staff in Media, PA

Along with the winter solstice and the New Year, there was Hal's 89th birthday! Nothing like an office birthday party with cake, laughs, and plenty of hugs to go around with our fearless leader and visionary.