“Sail Away from the Safe Harbor”

Here is one of our CEO Pamela Hawley’s favorite quotes from her blog Living and Giving.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didnt do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

Its okay to feel safe. In some ways, we need to feel safe as a launching pad, knowing that someone believes in us.  And from that harbor, we can and should launch into spectacular venues where we push ourselves out of our comfort zone. You will grow and be inspired in ways you could never imagine.  You inspire.

For those of you who dream and discover starting from shaky ground, you have a courage that will carry you through to new heights and insights.  You inspire!

Mark Twain was born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, in Florida, Missouri, on November 30, 1835.  In his writing, he presented an honest, yet satirical portrayal of antebellum south.  His criticisms of the south, such as in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, cried out against racist attitudes.  He led an exciting life as a ferry boat driver and a prospector during the Gold Rush; his experiences enhanced his understanding of the American culture which he wrote about.

Consider leaving your comfort zone by volunteering abroad. Search for an opportunity here.

Impact Investing — Taking Off in Latin America!

So where is one of the greatest hot spots in Impact Investing? Latin America.

What I love about Impact Investing is its emphasis on supporting entrepreneurial people and teams. If you can put a small amount of money aside and invest in one of these enterprises, you can often see great results. However, be prepared that it is a risk and a worthy risk!   Investing is never a 100% guarantee.

Let’s take a look at how this industry continues to scale. In Mexico, we see the greatest leader; nearly $400 million in investments; Brazil nearly $190 million; Colombia: over $50 million.

Considering Impact Investing was coined in the 1990s, that’s a lot of money – showing a lot of awareness! Let’s be grateful for that. Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs showed the rise of Impact Investing in Latin America in their article The Impact Investing Landscape in Latin America.

What People Invest In

Let’s break this down a little bit. Within a two-year period, the number of Impact Investors increased by 25% in Brazil. The major areas they invest in are health, education, agriculture and financial exclusion, according to Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs.

It’s great to see Financial Inclusion, as we usually see more urgent needs such as food or shelter.  It’s nice to see people caring about providing financial training, access to financial services and helping people of the lower class move to the middle class. As we know, this strengthens the entire community.

Now let’s look at Colombia. Colombia’s average deal size is much larger, but the issues focus on mostly Financial Inclusion and Agriculture. These investments in financial and agriculture have the most opportunity to make a difference because they benefit the most vulnerable populations. Therefore, the most popular sectors of Impact Investing rest in Financial Inclusion and Agriculture.

Next up is Mexico, the “Mother of Investing.” Mexico now has 50 investors with 20% of them who invest only in Mexico. That’s impressive! It shows we’re not just exporting people from the US or other more developed countries to plant the idea of impact investing. People are investing on their own soil. It is exactly what we want to see, so they truly own their investments and participate in building their local community.

One of my favorite groups is the National Institute for Entrepreneurship  LINK which focuses on increasing Entrepreneurship in Mexico. Here is the astounding number: both from national and international investments, there is more that $7 billion dollars being invested. And true to the importance of local people playing a strong role, the local investors are the primary investors. That’s because the know their turf, they know their land, and they know what will work. A great example.

A success story from Impact Investing in Mexico is through a company called ClickOnero. Click Onero uses SMS messages and social networking to spread promotions of companies, such as Coca-Cola, to a wide list of users. The users clicked the “Like” button to companies’ promotions, and in exchange, received points that could be used for SMS or cellular prepaid airtime. Why is this important? Well, it helps companies advertise, but also helps the “liker.” They have their cell phone costs reduced, which is often important to their livelihood in selling crops in the market.  You’re reducing their cost of doing business, making their businesses more profitable and reducing their living costs. This makes for a more successful life.This company has done a great job and has been growing consistently since 2009.

So that’s your crash course in Impact Investing in Latin America. We are also seeing it grow and also increase in Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua.  If you’re global and reading this, maybe you can set aside a small amount to invest in your local community. You might be the next investor!

Think Big and With A Big Heart,

Pamela 🙂


“The Impact Investing Landscape in Latin America.” Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs. Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), Latin American Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (LAVCA), and LGT Impact Ventures, Aug. 2016. Web.

Five ways to give when you’re short on money

The economy can be a roller coaster, and with things like “Brexit” and climate change, the world can feel as if it is in turmoil. On top of that you’re worried about job security or paying back student loans, and giving seems like a secondary priority.

Don’t lose heart. Giving back and making a difference don’t have to break the bank. Here are some low-cost and meaningful ways to give.

1. Cultivate an attitude of abundance

Let’s start with our minds. Be courageous and realize that you have more than you think. If you have a bed, shelter, clothing, a job, and family or friends, then you are in a very “wealthy” state.

Go over the positives in your life. Write down heartfelt quotes that inspire you. As you fill yourself up with this goodness, you will be able to give to others.

2. Pick up the phone

Instead of being constantly worried about where the world is going, why not pick up the phone and find out how someone else is doing?

Calling someone “for no reason” is an important opportunity to show them that you are thinking of them. You are taking time out of your busy day to reach out. Everyone needs someone to just listen sometimes. They may be filled with joy or sadness. Be there to celebrate their good news, or support them with compassion.

3. Write a note

While some people enjoy receiving gifts, all of us appreciate a kind word. It is one thing to say it, but it can be even more meaningful to put it in writing. What if you made a commitment to write a thank-you note to someone every week?

You can congratulate friends on a new job, express condolences for the death of a loved one, or simply say you are thinking of them. You can think of any positive reason you like. Handwritten letters are memorable and heartfelt.

4. Invite someone over for dinner

You never know what someone might be going through – a painful divorce, a tough college semester, or just a bad day. Opening up your home will make someone feel appreciated. In addition, it costs less than going out. The leftovers from this dinner can be packaged up for homeless people. That’s double giving!

5. Set aside money from a daily ritual to donate

Giving doesn’t have to mean a life full of sacrifices. You can still buy a burger or get your nails done. But instead of buying several coffees every week, you can drink one fewer. Donate the money you save: Even $5 can make a difference in someone’s life. In the United States it can buy a small lunch, but abroad it can be used to build a library or buy mosquito nets to help prevent malaria.

Difficult financial times don’t mean your giving shuts down. Instead, they allow you to examine how your time and money are spent. There are so many ways to give back that won’t hurt your wallet and will enrich your life.

Take the Christian Science Monitor’s Quiz: What kind of giver are you? 

Man Bakes Pies to Heal His Heart

What a lovely example.  I love people who despite any hurt– still rise above, and give.  It’s so beautiful.  What a courageous man.  He bakes pies to heal his heart, after his wife ascended.


It seems Keller couldn’t possibly have thought up a more beautiful way to honor his late wife than by baking hundreds of pies and selflessly giving them away to those in need. But one of the most touching parts of his tribute actually comes long before the final baked goods are revealed. It happens each time he opens the oven.

Read about 98-year-old Keller here.

As he explained to the station, his wife picked it out when they moved in their Hastings home 62 years ago.

“Everything I do, I do it with love,” he said. “That’s my secret ingredient, is love.”

Read full article

This article originally appeared in Foodandwine.com

Want to Volunteer? Three Things To Ask

From the website Dear Pamela: where Pamela Hawley answers questions from Duke University students about social innovations and nonprofits.

How do you pick the right volunteer experience for you? It’s important to be diligent in your choice of organizations when volunteering. Ask yourself the following questions to determine which experience best fits your goals.

  1. What cause is important to you?

Identify your greatest passions. What is a problem you want to solve? Who are people you want to connect with? If you don’t have answers to those questions, don’t worry. Sometimes you know, and sometimes not! That’s where you just have to try, learn more about the cause, and see if it engages your mind and emotions.

This is why volunteering is so great. You can always try it, commit for a reasonable time, and then try something different. Start with an area about which you are curious, such as education, the environment, or health care. Interested in animal conservation? Volunteer with Pandas International to assist conservationists in caring for pandas. That raises another point: You can use volunteering to explore another part of the world. Working with Globe Aware in Peru, for example, will allow you to engage in a way much beyond that of a tourist.

  1. What is the organization like?

The nonprofit sector continues to grow, with new organizations popping up daily. Understanding the organizational structure is critical to a positive volunteer experience. Would you like to work in a larger organization that might have more resources but is more rigid? Or a smaller, entrepreneurial organization that has less fiscal support but multiple opportunities to serve?

You also need to consider the leadership structure. Are they friendly, open, willing to give you opportunities? Do you see yourself enjoying your day working with them? If you answer yes, then most likely you will have a positive relationship. They will want to see you grow and develop, and you will want to help them. It’s a “win-win” for everyone. Try to meet with the leader or volunteer manager prior to starting to ensure it’s a good fit.

  1. How much time can you dedicate?

Be realistic about the amount of time you can spend volunteering. Often, volunteers comment that they benefit from investing a lot of time becoming a part of the “nonprofit family.” You can learn the ins and outs of the organization and gain greater expertise.

However, you may have time only to help on weekends every now and then. That’s great, too. It’s just a different kind of experience. Volunteering one time to help a soup kitchen pack meals for families for the holidays is a good example. You’ve helped fill a need, and your heart is filled, too!

You’ve got a heart to give. Now, take the time to think about how you want to volunteer. By being thoughtful, you’ll use your time well and get the most out of your experience. (It also helps the nonprofit!) No matter what, you’ll be a better person. And the world will be better, too.

Visit Duke University’s website where Pamela can answer your questions on social innovations and nonprofits here!