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Foundation Fridays

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Foundation Fridays: Even Santa has tough times

on Fri, 12/21/2012 - 11:26

We know from working with our loan recipients here at the Untours Foundation, that it is a LOT of work running a profitable business.

In 2008, Santa himself hit hard times and went to Congress for bailout funds in the hopes of keeping his business afloat.

Here’s a short video with some of the Congressional proceedings. Poor Santa……

“A good business produces goods and services, not ‘bads and disservices’.” Hal Taussig, Sr.

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: Tosheka Designs on TV

on Fri, 12/14/2012 - 10:21
A fabulous bag made by Tosheka Designs, an Untours Foundation loan recipient

Tosheka Designs has won our hearts for its job training and job creation in Kenya, its recycling program, and its beautiful purses created out of plastic bags. Nyokabi Mwangi, Tosheka's associate director, was recently interviewed on a Kenyan television arts program. Here are the first two five-minute segments of that interview.

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: Down But Not Out

on Fri, 11/16/2012 - 09:35
Hurricane Sandy's wake in the warehouse of IceStone, an Untours Foundation loan recipient

IceStone is still recovering from hosting five feet of Hurricane Sandy’s salty water in its factory. Here's a short video on escorting the last bit of this unwanted guest off the premises.

IceStone still has no electricity. However, between the natural lighting of its green factory and the delivery of electricity via a very long extension cord, it is moving forward under the leadership of Dal LaMagna

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: Hurricane Sandy meets some of our loan recipients

on Fri, 11/09/2012 - 09:43
A pier in Crisfield, Maryland in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

Brooklyn-based IceStone, the producers of countertops and flooring made out of recycled glass, was under 5 feet of water from Sandy. Here is a news story about that. They are still without most of their power.

Several other foundation loan recipients, like Cheryl Stevens, who normally work 16-hour days, lost business from closing during the storm, but report that they finally got some sleep!

Haiti, dear Haiti, continues to take the brunt of storms, earthquakes, and political turmoil. Following is a letter from Haiti by Anne Hastings, CEO of Fonkoze Financial Services. Anne was a contented strategic management professional in Washington, DC, until she joined a study trip to Haiti in the late ‘90’s. The rest is herstory!

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: Microlending 101

on Fri, 11/02/2012 - 09:46
The Living on One Dollar Guys Cooking Beans

I stumbled upon a film trailer about four young US men, who spent a summer in Guatemala trying to live on a dollar a day.

At first I thought, “Well, that doesn’t really count. They knew their situation was only temporary.” Then, Hurricane Sandy took out the power in my neighborhood, and most of my neighbors have moved out until the power comes back on.

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: And they won!

on Fri, 10/26/2012 - 09:41
A Fonkoze graduation day skit

A short video produced by Good Eye Video for Fonkoze – the bright, bold, and effective bank in Haiti that services the poor – won the 6th Annual doGooder Nonprofit Video Award for the best video by a medium-sized organization. We told you Fonkoze was among the contenders, but failed to tell you they won! The contest is a project of See3 Communications in partnership with YouTube.

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: Racking up awards

on Fri, 10/19/2012 - 10:29
Elizabeth Killough (Untours Foundation manager), CheneAmelie, Joel Hommes (Wash Cycle Laundry marketer), and Gabriel Mandujano (Wash Cycle CEO and owner)

It was just a month ago that our loan recipient, Wash Cycle Laundry, won “2012 Best Laundry Service” from Philadelphia Magazine. This week, it won the annual leadership award from Gearing Up, a non-profit providing women in transition from abuse, addiction, and/or incarceration with the skills, equipment, and guidance to safely ride a bicycle for exercise, transportation, and personal growth. Way to go!

One of Wash Cycle Laundry’s bikers is a Gearing Up graduate. Following is a talk she delivered at Gearing Up’s award ceremony. Her story conveys courage and moxie as well as speaking to the amazing job opportunities created by our foundation’s loan recipients:

     My name is CheneAmelie. I am a graduate of the Gearing Up Program. I am also a cyclist for Gabe and the Wash Cycle Laundry Team. SO, seems perfect to be talking here tonight and bringing my biking circles together.

elizabeth.killough's picture

Grameen Bank in the crossfire

on Fri, 10/12/2012 - 09:49
Muhammad Yunus at the 2009 WEF Annual Meeting,

Twenty years ago, due to the success of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and its leader and visionary, Mohammed Yunus, Hal was inspired to create the Untours Foundation. Grameen put micro lending on the map: the idea of providing very small, short term loans to people living on the margins to leverage their livelihoods.

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Friday: I gave at the office

on Fri, 09/28/2012 - 09:28
Shop online through igive.com and you can have stores donate a portion of their proceeds to nonprofits like Untours Foundation

Well, actually, I gave while shopping. Lots of online stores offer a commission on your purchases to your favorite non-profit. These cyber “stores” and services range from L.L.Bean to Amazon to 1-800-flowers.com -- which, by the way, offers Fair Trade Certified roses. If you start your shopping through the igive.com website, your favorite stores provide a commission to your selected cause.

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: Meet Bill Wiedmann!

on Fri, 09/21/2012 - 14:19
Bill Wiedmann, treasuer of Untours Foundation board

Bill has a full life with four children, an active role in their school, a growing business, lots of international traveling to meet with Fair Trade farmers, and a beautiful garden (well, he would tell you it's his beautiful wife, Claire's garden, but I've seen him work in it!). Yet he agreed to be on our foundation board AND be the treasurer, which is a tall order for a foundation that provides loans.

Here’s more on Bill………

How did you meet Hal and Norma? I heard about Hal long before I met him. I am from Media but was living in Hawaii when I started a business that practiced fair trade with

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