In this episode, Capital Insight host and securities attorney Michelle Thimesch talks with Jonathan Coleman of Untours Foundation. Untours Foundation was created by Untours, an outside-the-box travel company that prioritizes immersion in local communities rather than funneling tourist dollars into big hotels that do not benefit small businesses owned and operated by locals.
The Untours Foundation works to alleviate poverty by providing low-interest loans to social entrepreneurs and businesses across the United States and around the world. The Foundation also advocates for mission-aligned investing in order to more broadly build a just and environmentally sustainable global economy.
“We’re using this democratized ownership model to make sure that the benefits of this work go directly to…impoverished regions. This is the kind of thing that no one else is gonna fund, and we’re willing to take that risk because we see that the impact, if it works, will be extreme.”
“Smaller community-owned tourism operators that have the most downstream impact on their local communities are the ones that need capital right now…We see tourism as a huge lever for broader impact in the world. Travel accounts for 10% of global GDP, 10% of global jobs, and almost 10% of global emissions. We want to be part of the solution toward reimagining what that is.”
Jonathan Coleman grew up in small-town middle America, in a family that didn’t travel much. Now, he has lived in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East while working in education and youth-focused initiatives. He received his MBA in International Economic Development and spent years at the helm of ASSETS, an organization that helps launch and grow social enterprises and diversely-owned businesses in Lancaster, PA. Their mission and values mirror those of the Untours Foundation, helping create jobs, boosting sustainability, and working toward economic inclusion. Coleman also runs Intentional Tours with my wife Kate, leading cultural immersion tours in the Dominican Republic, Kenya, and Cambodia.
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Intro and outro are voiced by Marina Verlaine. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org