Pamela’s Weekly Words of Wisdom: Celebrate the Beauty of Balance

I hope I believe in balance. And part of that is identifying and knowing your team members’ goals outside of work.

It’s important to have outside lives and interests.  You have to begin by recognizing those first for yourself.  Your team will see you modeling this balance and how it makes you a whole, fully giving person.

We try to encourage our team to have outside interests, and to share their goals. We know UniversalGiving can’t be everything for everyone (even me ). And so I love to hear about the other interests—how can we help further them? One person wants to be a writer. Another is interested in aerospace. If I know this, perhaps someday I can help them. I can watch out for a person or introduction that might be helpful. Or even in a small way, I can find a helpful article in my daily journey of reading.

We’re all here to help each other.  It can happen in so many ways.  Focus on encouraging a balanced life and sharing of one another’s goals.  Let’s see how much we can help each other.  It will amaze you how much it energizes your organization, and propels your vision forward.  But most importantly, it honors the other person holistically, just as you would want to be honored.

What Brings Me Here


A photo by Oliver & Hen Pritchard-Barrett.

At UniversalGiving, we are so grateful for all of our interns! Here is a quote from Madhuri, our Q&A/Web Intern about why she has decided to work with us to make the world a brighter place!


“My passion towards learning and contributing to the society brings me here to UniversalGiving. And knowing about the UniversalGiving’s vision really motivates me to come forward and contribute a bit for a great cause. As it is said, small drops make the ocean.”

-Madhuri Kalani, Intern

Sustainability Spotlight: Kickstart International

Have you traveled to Africa? When we hear this word, most of us think of the elephants and the giraffes of the savannah, the peaks of Kilimanjaro, or the beaches of Cote d’Ivoire. These amazing sights make it easy to lose track of the small-scale farmers that make up 80% of those living in poverty. These families often find that hard work is not enough to combat low rainfall and water shortages. How do you make use of the water you have? And how do you create sustainability? Kickstart International brings irrigation tools and techniques to Sub-Saharan Africa to rejuvenate these farmlands.

Kickstart International (Kickstart) began when founders Dr. Martin Fisher and Nick Moon started to question traditional techniques in addressing poverty. They wanted to combine new technology that would address the problem with marketplace sustainability. Their collaboration resulted in the creation of products that were made exclusively for poor, rural African farmers. These tools would increase the crop output, resulting in a more sustainable income for the farmers. However, these tools were not handouts – Fisher and Martin were determined to sell low-cost, high-quality irrigation pumps at an affordable price so that families and communities could raise themselves out of poverty.

For over 15 years, Kickstart has provided over 1 million people the opportunity to feed, clothe, and educate themselves while still having some money left over to save for the future. In total, they have sold over 287, 435 pumps. Kickstart is currently working in 16 countries in Africa, including Tanzania, Kenya, and South Sudan. The organization focuses on these four areas: increasing incomes, enabling food security, empowering women, and increasing resilience to climate change.

The Time Is Now. Click Here to Watch Kickstart’s Video about Innovation and Action.

Kickstart International.jpgIf you would like to learn more about Kickstart International’s innovation, you can check out their page on the UniversalGiving website! 

NGO Spotlight: Embrace

embrace mother

Embrace, one of UniversalGiving’s most recent partners, was founded as a Stanford Class project. This innovative nonprofit is working to solve the difficult issue of premature deaths throughout the developing world. Their website claims that “the most dangerous day of a child’s life is the day of their birth”, and follows up with frightening statistics: over one million babies die the same day they are born, and 98% of those deaths take place in the developing world.

Jane Chen was an MBA student at Stanford when her class was assigned the challenge of inventing a cheap infant incubator that could be easily used in rural and developing regions. Her team came up with the idea for the “Embrace warmer”, a portable and cost-effective incubator that doesn’t require constant electricity to keep low-weight babies warm.

Premature babies face much larger risks outside of the developed world. Without proper incubation, underweight infants can suffer from hypothermia even at room temperature. embrace baby

Early childhood death was listed as a key issue in the UN Millennium Development Goals. Infant mortality has been declining since the 1990’s, but millions of families are still affected. Embrace currently operates mainly in Uganda, India, and Afghanistan, and is looking to expand to additional countries soon.

The Embrace warmer has helped 200,000 infants so far. Last year, Embrace joined up with Thrive Networks, a global NGO that aims to develop and distribute innovative technologies that target the needs of underserved communities. They hope the partnership will allow them to share their incubators with even more communities.

 If you want to learn more about why the UN wants to tackle overpopulation by lowering child mortality rates, watch this great video from the Gapminder Foundation.

To donate to Embrace, or to find out more about the nonprofit, checkout their page on Universalgiving.

Why Sacrifice is Good: The Art of Giving Up and Letting Go

blue_realse_clouds_220520_lOne of the biggest things humans have trouble doing is sacrificing.

Learn more in the audio version of this blog!


The art of giving up and letting go for the long haul seems almost foreign to us. Why, after all, would you give up something of value when you don’t have to? Continue reading