Untours gives away its profits because its owners, Hal and Norma Taussig, walk to the beat of a different drummer.
Several decades ago, Hal decided that he did not want to accumulate wealth. This decision included a resolution to try to be a responsible steward, using his financial resources to promote social and economic justice. His first attempt to share his wealth was when he refunded an entire year's profits to surprised clients. Many clients thought he was crazy, but everyone cashed their checks! He then turned to a quite different approach, one which lasted a decade…..He began paying everyone the same monthly wage, and at the end of each year, divided all profits equally between his employees – including himself and Norma. Grousing from some employees with seniority became an increasing problem with this egalitarian approach. Hal then created the Untours Foundation in 1992, and since that time, practically all of the tour company’s after-tax profits have gone to the foundation.
Norma Taussig, Hal's wife and the co-owner of Untours, has strongly supported these developments, often leading the way. Like Hal, she believes in "change, not charity," especially as this concept applies to funding small inner-city businesses that create lasting change and can be duplicated by others.
Norma and Hal live a simple life in their small home. They live on Social Security and savings from the modest wages Norma earned during her working years. More than a decade ago, Hal stopped drawing a salary from the travel business. But an IRS auditor, suspecting Hal of avoiding a salary to evade taxes, fined him $7,000 and required that he take a $6,000 annual wage – all of which he nows signs over to others in need!