Bo Hammond and Lisa Maurer met and fell in love in the District of Columbia. Hammond majored in history at American University and Maurer had just graduated from business school at Trinity College in Dublin. When Maurer was 26, living happily with Hammond in the District, she was diagnosed with lymphoma.
During Maurer’s fight with cancer between the rounds of treatment, the pair began to think about what mattered to them in life.
“Boy meets girl, girl is mean to boy, they start dating, girl gets cancer and they decide to start their own social good enterprise after realizing that life is short and fragile,” Hammond said.
Hammond and Maurer decided to combine their loves of D.C., history and business to create a philanthropic D.C. walking tour company called Tours for Humanity. The company provides unique tours of the National Mall, Arlington Cemetery, Capitol Hill and other D.C. landmarks by incorporating stories into each stop along the way. A portion of the company’s profits each year go to support charities such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Ashoka, a nonprofit that invests in entrepreneurs. Each year, they also donate to a third charity specifically selected by tour-goers.
“Ever since Lisa’s battle with cancer we wanted to do something meaningful to fight the disease and make the world better in general,” Hammond said. “We’re avid fundraisers, raising money for charities such as American Cancer Society and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We want to stop struggling to find ways to deliver a lump sum to our favorite charities at some hazy point in the future.”
“We don’t believe that any of your life’s aspects should be separated, so, you know, to go to work for a living but at the same time be doing something that is giving back to the community,” Maurer said.
Many of the tour guides that work for Tours for Humanity are passionate about history or political science and tell colorful stories on each walk.
Whether it is a group of World War II veterans or inner-city high school students, tour guides alter the pace and content of the tours to best suit the visitors.
“I went to college in Washington, D.C. and I think we tend to — as students — get into our own bubbles, in that sometimes you might not ever go past the local pub. D.C. is such an incredible resource as a classroom, in and of itself. Whether that is the Smithsonian [Institution], the memorials, you could learn all of America’s history just by the free resources that are in the city, and it is even better when you can have expert guidance through all of that,” Hammond said.
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