Image courtesy of Bo Hammond

“A tour won’t save the world, but it’s a step in the right direction.” That’s Tours for Humanity’s motto, and it’s a good one at that.

Tours for Humanity is a startup D.C. tour company on a mission to use history to help people overcome difficulties to pursue their life’s ambitions. It was dreamt up by a couple whose passion for life wasn’t lost on me as we discussed their social good project currently trying to raise $18,000 on Indiegogo.

When Bo Hammond, a former history major at American University, and Lisa Maurer, a business savvy James Madison University alum, met, fireworks must have gone off. Their adoration and respect for one another clearly resonated even through the phone, which might have something to do with a major obstacle they continue to struggle with every day. Maurer was diagnosed with cancer while they were dating.

A tour won’t save the world, but it’s a step in the right direction

Life-threatening situations tend to prompt those most affected to reflect on what they’ve done, and after coming to the realization that life is too short and fragile, Hammond and Maurer decided it was time to do something meaningful to not only fight the disease Maurer battled, but to make the world better in general.

In that spirit, the dynamic duo launched Tours for Humanity to provide walking tours of Washington, D.C. But when you take their tour, you’re not receiving the run-of-the-mill textbook guide, you’re receiving a one-of-a-kind experience.

“We’re not just talking about architecture and origins, but also why these monuments or memorials are important and why we honor them,” Hammond said in a tone that easily gave away his excitement.

The tour guides are also not exactly whom you’d expect to give you a firsthand look at the capital’s most impressive historical artifacts.

“We’re extremely unique in that the tour guides we have signed up so far, like history majors and political science majors, have that extra knowledge base to give spin to these stories,” said Maurer, who has an MBA. “We have different experiences we can offer because this isn’t our first job.”

Image courtesy of Bo Hammond

You can take a lot of tours in D.C., a lot of snore-worthy, utterly boring tours, and that’s exactly what Tours for Humanity wants to avoid perpetuating.

“We have passionate, young, educated tour guides,” Hammond explained. “These guys are storytellers. It’s about the power of stories. We want to use history to help people.”

And helping people they are, as Tours for Humanity has pledged to contribute a portion of their profits to three charities, including the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and Ashoka. The third charity will be chosen through a vote of the top donors to their Indiegogo campaign.

Hammond and Maurer have already secured some of their first clients, one of which is JMU, Maurer’s alma mater. Students that are a part of JMU’s Washington Semester Program will receive tours through Tours for Humanity when they come to town for the first time.

Already at $10,135 of its $18,000 Indiegogo goal, Hammond and Maurer realize this isn’t enough money to fund their entire tour company, it’s just enough to cover their initial startup costs. That said, $18,000 is more than enough to get something meaningful up and running in a city that often forgets about the little things, like extending a helping hand to those in need.