Author Archives: Pamela Hawley

About Pamela Hawley

Pamela is the founder and CEO of UniversalGiving™ ( UniversalGiving™ (UG) is an award winning marketplace which allows people to give and volunteer with the top-performing projects all over the world. UniversalGiving™ offers a variety of ways for donors to become involved through individual Projects or Gift Packages. Visitors simply choose a region (such as Africa) and an issue (such as education or the environment) and receive a list of quality ways to give and volunteer. When giving, 100% of your donation goes directly to the project. UniversalGiving™ performs due diligence on all its projects through its unique, trademarked Quality Model™. To date, almost $1.5 million and 8,000 volunteers have been matched through UniversalGiving™ has most recently been featured in the Christian Science Monitor, Self Magazine, Chicago Sun Times, New York Times, L.A. Times, and CNNMoney. In addition, UniversalGiving™ was the 2006 Webby Award honoree and won W3's 2007 Silver Award for Creative Excellence on the Web. UniversalGiving™ is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, whose vision is to "create a world where giving and volunteering are a natural part of everyday life."™ Before UniversalGiving™, Pamela co-founded VolunteerMatch, which has matched more than 4 million volunteers with nonprofits. During her time with there, Pamela also launched VolunteerMatch Corporate, a customized version for employee volunteer programs. More than 20 Fortune 500 companies became clients, providing 43% of Volunteer Match’s sustainability. Pamela's global experience includes work and volunteering abroad in microfinance in remote villages of India; crisis relief work in the 2000 El Salvador earthquake; sustainable farming in Guatemala; digital divide training in Cambodia; and indigenous community preservation in Ecuador. Pamela has a political science degree cum laudé at Duke University and a Masters on scholarship at the Annenberg School of Communications, USC, in International Communications.

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

Eckhart Tolle has an incredible philosophy to relate on Beingness. It’s interesting that he brings in Buddhism, Christianity, and many different types of religion to explain the importance of being.

Much of what he talks about is that if you’re worrying about the past, you’re letting the past  attach to you. If you’re worrying about the future, you’re attaching negativity to the future — before it’s even happened.

That statement alone I review again and again, for it keeps us focused on positivity and the present. Therefore, Being is the best way to be fully present. Being so grateful and so filled with the present moment, that that’s all there is.

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For some, this might feel hard. It can be a challenge especially if they are in the midst of some type of trauma. Further, many of us do need to plan, and so we do need to think about our futures. We need to be understanding of everyone’s situation.

Having said that, not attaching negativity to our past or future and being grateful for the present, is a great lesson that any of us can learn!

It pushes us to not ignoring the issues at hand, but simply be present. We can focus on Being, rather being upset by them. I would say further, we need to expect good to happen in this present moment –  and all future moments.

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This book can help any religious follower become less attached to negative histories, renewing oneself in the present moment.  This is also great for any person who is agnostic and atheist. There is no reason for anyone to hold on to negativity about the past or hold fear for the future.

More than anything, it’s a lesson about our minds. Take a stand for peace in your mind.


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Eckhart Tolle was born in Germany and attended higher education at the Universities of London and Cambridge. In his 30s, Tolle began to work in London as a counselor and spiritual teacher. He now frequently travels between British Columbia, Canada and California. Tolle’s #1 New York Times bestseller The Power of Now has been translated into 33 languages and is widely regarded as one of the most influential spiritual books of the 21st century. Eckhart Tolle’s partner is Kim Eng, who works, teaches, and travels with him. Lean more about Eckhart Tolle:


The Classic Pamela Positive: Read This If You Want to See a True Team At Work

Dear Living and Giving Readers,

I just had to share what a wonderful note I received from one of my core team members, Aurora. She works in Office of the CEO, and is dedicated, professional, and really strives to serve the world! Imagine my surprise as CEO when I received this:

Hi Pamela, Sam, Ayuko,

Today (April 20th) is my birthday—and in the spirit of living and giving, I wanted to “donate” today. I’ll still send my EOD (End of Day) Report, but I won’t mark today’s three hours in PayChex.

While I personally don’t have a lot of money to donate, I at least hope that donating my time in this way can demonstrate my appreciation for UniversalGiving.

Thank you so much for all that you do, making the world a better and kinder place.



PS: I’ve been accepted to Princeton’s PhD program for Politics, focusing on International Relations. I requested a one-year deferral so that I can start a church with my friends first in 2018; and, Princeton approved of the deferral request! So, I’ll be getting my PhD starting Fall 2019! Thank you for all your support since September, encouraging me to grow as a professional and as a person.

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As CEO, you have a lot of news, positive and challenging, that you receive every day. Imagine when I received such positive news above. A team member so dedicated, caring and loving.  It fills your heart. You certainly don’t expect it and when it happens, you are floating with gratitude for days.

And so here was my response.  It’s so important to be grateful, but also to recognize and celebrate their lives holistically:

Dear Aurora!   What inspiring and exciting news… CONGRATULATIONS! I am calling you right now.   Aurora, that is just wonderful news on all fronts.

First, on Princeton. What an achievement.  We are so pleased you are advancing in such a wonderful way.  What a gift for them and you to have this opportunity! You will learn so much on the international front… I can’t wait to hear!

Second, great you are accomplishing your goals on the church front.  Aung and I pray and say affirmations in the office, and it’s lovely. He’s Buddhist and I’m Christian, and it’s a great way for us to share and give strength to our world and UniversalGiving.   So good for you accomplishing this spiritual goal for yourself. Sharing positivity is so important, and you’ve chosen an important way!

Third, what a great gift!   To donate your hard work for today… what an honor to have your thoughtfulness. You are a true, dear, kind ethical and utmost caring person. How honored we are to have you!   That will sing in my heart for many years to come. I’m also CC-ing a few other core team members from UniversalGiving, because we love to celebrate our positive culture and any good news!

Thank you again, Aurora, for your great news, and sharing it with our UniversalGiving Family. We are rejoicing for you!  Great job! Wonderful! Upwards you go, dear Aurora!

Warmly and with Great Gratitude,



Sometimes, when we work at a nonprofit or do good in the world, we forget it can come right back to you. Aurora gave me that gift today. I am so grateful for Aurora Ling who is a precious member of the UniversalGiving team.

Everyone has a team. It might be at work; a certain Business Unit; a wrestling team – you’re the coach or you’re on it; your Quaker prayer meeting, mosque, family or afterschool Physics class.

Be grateful for everything, and especially for your team, today!   

A Soul Chat About Doing What You Love to Do: “I’m Going to Leave My Lucrative Job at Google.”

July 31, 2017

Recently, I was helping someone try to find what they love to do. We were having a soul chat. “Leslye” had left a prominent position at Google. The title seemed right on the external—that is, it seemed right to society.

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But it didn’t seem right on the inside, with her heart. Still, she questioned leaving. She put herself through such mental anguish. When truly what her soul was saying is, “This isn’t right.” We have to listen.

This was at a spiritual gathering, so I gave her some verses to study and think about deeply in her heart. Wisdom from spiritual practices help us connect with our own heart, our conscience, and our place in the world. Here is one I gave her:

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for” (Jeremiah 29:11 MSG).


How amazing is that, if there is a universe of good, watching out for us. A spiritual power taking care.  It’s important we hook into something much more meaningful that just the importance of our day to day. We need to be inspired that our lives are part of a greater plan, whether that is nature, the universe, or any type of spirituality.

As we encourage one another, we can make a difference. From Leslye:

“Thanks for your thoughtful response! I really appreciated the list of verses. The theme of having a plan has been a helpful reminder to continue to [have] faith and not let anxiety win.”


“And not let anxiety win.”

That is so important that we don’t let anxiety win.  That’s not part of the package we were born with. We are born to be vibrant contributors to the world, filled with life, positivity, and a unique footprint.

Leslye’s doing great. But then Leslye questioned again. But she still didn’t want to go back to Google. She felt stuck.

So I shared:

“Remember, you left for a reason. Something wasn’t sitting right with your soul.  We really, as living a life truly alive, can’t ignore it. You can come be present with me. I understand and you won’t feel “so weird.” I get it! :)”

We all need people we can be with on our unique pathway.  So if you are forging out and doing something different, find some likeminded innovative thinkers. It’s a tender stage.  Why is it so hard? As Leslye states:

“We often don’t see all of the challenges and rough patches that lead to the external successes; I was especially encouraged by examples of all the times you persevered through hardship. Similar to your experience of hopping, I’ve gone through three jobs in 4 years. I find myself often beating myself up for leaving Google, but I found comfort in your advice to keep going and keep trying — to view things that don’t work out as lessons and steps toward finding something that fits. The post on Personal Happiness (quote from J.K. Rowling) also resonated with me. One of the things I struggle with and find hard in a place like Silicon Valley is distinguishing between my achievements/resume and identity. I aspire to develop a greater focus on my qualities and how I can help others, rather than my resume”

–Leslye, regarding the piece “Rough


Wow! What lessons we can learn from Leslye.  You, and she, were given gifts to utilize. You’re not supposed to bury it. So keep working on your talents… the universe wants that. The universe is not looking at your resume!

Thanks again for your inspiration, Leslye. We are cheering you on to realizing your gifts in life!

Pamela Positive Throwback: To Have a Positive Mindset: Think about Building your Mind as you would your Dream Home


When you build a home, you have to have a vision. A vision of what you would like to create.  If you have a negative vision of your home then it certainly is not going to become a beautiful home!   So we need to maintain that vision, even when the going gets rough. Even if you run out of brick. Even if the paint color didn’t match the way you wanted it to. Even if you have to fumigate!  Hold the vision, and keep striving for it.


So what has helped me during tough times is not just to focus on the positive, but on gratitude. Even in tough times there is something to be grateful for.  If you are having a hard time in sales and partnerships, perhaps you can be grateful you uplifted that potential client’s day with a positive smile or sincere compliment…

On an entirely different level… if a natural disaster has occurred, you can still be grateful that the sun came out, as in many countries pollution blocks the sun. That a friend is near. That people are caring and helping.


Even in a crisis, and often especially in a crisis, the greatest goodness of people comes out.  We can find the good even when we don’t seem ‘to have or own much.’    True wealth comes from qualities of being loving, kind, sincere, genuine, giving. And how wonderful — that that wealth is available to each one of us, every moment.

World Trust

World Peace is a hard word. We all want it; we benevolently strive for it. But how can you create “World Peace”?

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I am not sure one can “make” peace. How do you manufacture it? I am not sure one can “create” it.  Out of what materials?

What we can do is build World Trust. We commit to developing long-term relationships based on trust. We work towards helping others achieve their goals as well as our own. We see a larger landscape where everyone is living fruitful lives, where each good action positively impacts another.


If we focus on World Trust, then World Peace can result. Peace is based on Trust.


This is where stereotypes burn out. Groupings on ethnicities, race, gender fall away.  Why? Because we know the person. We have a personal relationship with them.  Sometimes, it as simple as building a well in a community together, playing on a sports team together, going to school together.

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Join me on building World Trust. So that we can have World Peace.

Living and Giving Throwback: I Told Harvard Business School I Take Walks, I Take Naps

October 3, 2011

I returned from an amazing Harvard Business School event, called the Dynamic Women in Business Conference. They have maintained the highest levels of leadership, and dynamic examples of women leading such diverse and wonderfully fruitful lives.

I was honored to present with other strong women leaders on our panel on Social Entrepreneurship, which had almost no standing or sitting room. People wanted to soak up social entrepreneurship, caring so deeply about living lives devoted to the good of our community. What an inspiration to see.


What I found so amazing throughout was the diversity of women’s lives. There was Lillian Lincoln, the first African American woman to graduate from Harvard Business School in 1969. A 53-year-old gay woman from Microsoft, Anna Collins, adopted 13 month old twins, balanced with leading a major department at Microsoft.  Single mom Annette Pelliccio was a pioneer in the organic gardening industry, while also taking care of her two children. There was the effervescent Sarah Endline from SweetRiot’s confections who incorporated community by sourcing from indigenous people, and featuring local artists on the labels. As you can see, a feast of women living productive, meaningful lives.

Just reading the above paragraph makes me filled with awe at the productivity and devotion of such active women. They are doing so much good for the world, and yet many of them are also maintaining families. It’s not an easy balance. I think it will be one of the most challenging questions women face as we strive to lead meaningful lives at home and with work.

Work and Life Balance most certainly came up. At first there was a groundswell that it wasn’t possible. I had to venture in here, delicately so, as I am not a mom yet, but do aspire to be. I can speak about my balance today, but not yet for the future. I hope I will make peaceful, wise, inspired decisions that bless all the people in my life, when that time comes.


So for my life today, I had to tell Harvard Business School, “Sometimes, I take naps.” And let me tell you why.

Every Sunday I go down to the Peninsula to be with my cherished parents. They have been together 48 years and are what I would call “best friends with a spark.” It just works. They are kind and loving and caring, consistently. I talk with them both most every day, if not multiple times.

We just, quite simply… enjoy being together.

It’s a profound statement, I believe, not to be overlooked.

I keep telling myself, precious, precious—that’s what time with my parents is. Don’t take a moment for granted. Cherish your time.

So I do. Every Sunday I head down to church to hear my mom read, as she currently leads the service. It’s very precious to hear her speak about a spiritual foundation and to be read to by your mother. As adults, we don’t often get that luxury of a mom reading to you, which is so precious during childhood.


Then we come back and we have lunch together. We may talk outside on the patio in the sun, or, take their Golden Labrador Daisy for a walk around the block. Or, we might go take a nap.

That’s right.

If UniversalGiving, the organization I lead, grows slower because I choose to spend my weekend with my parents that way, then so be it. I cannot sacrifice that time together, in the name of our community, in the name of social entrepreneurship. These are the people I care about most. I love the most. Who have loved me the most. Who kept me going and inspired during the most challenging of startup days.

Then we then usually have dinner together, and I head back up to the city.

It’s blissful.


It is exactly right to state that “I am who I am because of my parents.” And so I am going to take that peaceful time with them as precious, and guard it like a type of spiritual gold. It’s what “makes me run,” and it’s what makes UniversalGiving succeed. Protect your time with whoever is family to you.  No email can compete. Don’t let it.

Activate Faith, Not Fear

February 25, 2018

We all face challenging times… whether it’s a report of an attack (such as the very recent terrorist attack on the headquarters of a Yemeni counter-terrorism unit)[1], a stumbling of a relationship with a sister, a student not getting into the school that they wanted to, or a business partnership that ends after a decade. All of these things can make us fearful of losing — rather than having faith in Life and faith that goodness will win.

I love what leader Joel Osteen has to say on this matter:

Fear and faith have something in common: they both ask us to believe something is going to happen that we cannot see.”

He continues on:

“You know, all through the day we have a choice to either believe that [goodness] is in control and good things are in store, or we can go around worried, negative, expecting the worst.”

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What’s important to realize is that we often get negative suggestions pummeling our thought. They present:

  • “I might get a B-minus on a test that I believe I should get an A on”;
  • a son that won’t open up and share what’s happening in his life
  • “I’m not good enough for the business opportunities ahead of me.”

But we have a job. Our true job every day is to believe in the best, expect the best, hope for the best, and watch for the best in every aspect of our lives.

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“If we’re looking for the good, you will find it.”

—Grey T. Full

This is where we need to be weighing in. This is where we need to be putting our faith. This is where we need to put all of our energy so that we believe for the best.

From experience, I don’t know of any company that’s built on negativity. I don’t know of any family that is built on harmony, while focusing on negative things… We have to believe in good and search for good in order to realize good in our lives.

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At the same time, we have to take a stand, strongly, against the negative suggestions. Don’t let negative suggestions become negative reality.

I love this story from Joel Osteen about his grandmother:

“My grandmother on my father’s side was a very feisty woman. She was raised out in the country. She reminded me of the grandmother out on Beverly Hillbillies.

Later in life she went to a doctor. He said ‘I’m sorry Mrs. Osteen, but you have the beginning stages of Parkinson’s disease.’

This did not sit well with Grandmother Osteen.

She didn’t even know what Parkinson’s disease was, but she knew enough that she didn’t want anything to do with it. She bristled back, got a real serious look and said

‘Listen here doctor, I will not have it. I refuse to have it.’

She went home that day full of faith. And do you know that she never did have Parkinson’s disease? She lived out her days in good health.”

So that’s what I’d ask all of us to do, for you to do, for me to do, which is to:

  1. Look for all the good, be excited about it, exonerate it, glorify it, and speak about it.
  2. Identify the negative suggestions, take a stand against them, and refuse to let them become negative reality.

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Many people in life often ask me what their purpose is. Well, it certainly isn’t a job, a career, or even family. It’s about living goodness at every point that we can.

Let’s go do this today. Activate faith, not fear.

Please share with me the goodness in your life and how you’ve taken a stance against a negative suggestion. I’d love to hear from you!

Living and Giving,