UniversalGiving.org is an organization that offers donors and volunteers top-performing non-profits to support, not only in times of crisis, but for the long-term commitment to an improved quality of life throughout the world. Donors can provide a gift, fund a project or volunteer in a region trusting that the organizations are actually making a difference and progress is evident. We spoke with the founder and CEO of Universal Giving, Pamela Hawley, to learn more of the core values and spiritual ideas that are the foundation of the organization.
“Philanthropy is about love of humanity, not just giving money to something,” explained Pamela. “Being kind and loving to other people, regardless of the situation, is an every day, every moment thing. This is natural giving that is authentic and sincere and makes anyone a giver right where they are.”
When Pamela was 12, her family vacationed in Mexico and spent an afternoon in a market looking at shops of silver jewelry and art. Peering down an alley, she saw a group of disabled kids begging for coins from tourists. She was shocked – not only with the image of kids her age and younger begging – but the injustice of it. How could this happen in an existence that she believed was divinely governed by principle and justice…for everyone?
Not possible, she thought. A feeling that something must be done to serve and change the condition of injustice never left her. This was the spark that led to Pamela’s conviction that justice and principle must be actively supported and evidenced in any distressed situation. More than a relief effort, it is a call to sustain a better quality of life for all.
Universal Giving was founded to support organizations that have a commitment to manifesting justice and long-term progress for individuals and communities. A proprietary 24-stage vetting model for each recommended non-profit assures donors that contributions are for sustainable improvement, not a one-shot response. As Pamela describes it “Universal Giving is designed to scale the giving, to see it manifested and sustained. And in this way, we get to see the divine principle and justice scaled as widely as possible!”
Effective Qualities of Principle and Inspiration in Decision-making
“A commitment to principle as motivation allows our team to focus on the sense of doing the right thing, objectively and outside of one’s self – it’s not personal attributes, it is the right thing to do,” shared Pamela. “As an organization we ask ourselves all the time, Is this the right thing, the best thing to do in this situation? We also expect to be inspired every day by people and communities making a difference, by our generous donors and volunteers supporting the progress, and by developing creative ways to do what is most natural to do, to give.”
Inspired Call to Action for Multiple Disasters Aid: The Crisis Relief Fund
Expecting to be inspired fosters creative solutions to pressing demands for support in times of crises. During the past few months, an unprecedented number of disasters have increased calls for help: earthquakes in Mexico, hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and humanitarian crises in Somalia, Rohingya. The Universal Giving team knew that there is a danger for donor and volunteer burnout with so many calls for aid. Individuals would select one crisis, but there were so many desperate needs happening day after day after day!
“How can we help those in need without bombarding our team and donors with frequent asks, and risk burnout or shutdown,” Pamela asked her team. “It isn’t divinely inspired to keep going back and back to the same donors and overwhelm them.” A team discussion with the premise of principled compassion – for the donors and volunteers and for the afflicted regions – led to the creation of a general Crisis Relief Fund to support. Each month, Universal Giving selects three crises to fund; donors will receive monthly reports on the progress in these areas.
“It is critical that we serve the world in a peace-giving way – to our teams, the donors, and the people in need.”
Hope and Expectation for the Future
Pamela shared what she is seeing from her travels in the US and internationally: “There is a greater consciousness today about giving. It is a frequent topic of conversation everywhere – people want to care and do good work now more than ever.”
“And here is something else developing: As economic advantages increase in Asia, Africa, the Americas, you are seeing an enhanced standard of living that is fostering a new middle class in the regions. This creates an opportunity for a small cash reserve in family budgets so that neighbors can help their neighbors. In other words, people in these countries can help themselves. They want to see justice in their own backyard. It’s empowering. Commitment to aid, then, comes from the people inside, not just outside help. The sincerity of giving and the dedication to justice is shared by both the global and local neighbors. To me, this is the power of the greater consciousness of justice for all.”
One More Thing: To Have Hope, Practice Hope!
“Action truly begins with what is in your own heart, your own thought, and with a full sense of peace. Whenever I feel tempted to be frustrated, I literally go back to giving…how and where can I give of myself, make a connection with someone? It’s up to me decide to be frustrated or upset – or be a giver of hope and joy.”
Recently, Pamela had an opportunity to do just that. She was in Los Angeles for a meeting and had parked her rental car on the street. Unfamiliar with the area, she had mistakenly parked in a tow-away zone during commute time. Her rental car was gone and she had a plane to catch.
“At that moment, I had a decision to make. Am I frustrated and upset or am I a giver? Am I going to cascade into negativity or be a hopeful giver? I chose to practice hope and expectation. This led me to take logical and practical steps to get me on my way. I called the towing center to learn where, in 18 possible garages in LA, my car was towed. With the heavy traffic, I figured (correctly as it turned out!) it would be faster if I run-walked the two miles to the tow center. I arrived at 6:52 pm – they closed at 7 pm!
“I was so grateful to be there, see my car, have the clerk efficiently process my paperwork, that I felt like sharing my joy with the guy! So I asked him about his work. He told me he was going to school and glad to have the business experience. We joked about him being my expensive personal trainer for the day! It was a nice connection in a totally unexpected location.”
“As I left with my keys and wished him well, he looked up at me and said, ‘Thank you for not yelling at me.’”
The sincerity of giving – so very worth it.
Pamela’s Philanthropy: Practice hope – be a giver today. Is Somalia too far away? Puerto Rico or Mexico too overwhelming? Be a sincere, authentic, kind giver right where you are. It breaks hopelessness in you and provides immeasurable good to someone else. Love humanity.
For more information on how you can support the Crisis Relief Fund at Universal Giving, go here.