Garrison Hullinger Interior Design started 9 years ago in Garrison Hullinger’s attic and has grown into a large team with a studio in downtown Portland. With a number of awards and recognitions, Garrison Hullinger Interior Design (GHID) is one of the most prominent interior design firms in Portland today. The firm creates custom, timeless, and practical designs with a serious sense of style for their clients. Founder and Principal Hullinger and his team of designers have taken on a number of interior design challenges; everything from residential to hospitality to commercial work spaces and more.
2019 is bringing an exciting new challenge to the firm: an initiative to formalize company-wide volunteerism.
Making Employee Volunteering a Reality (and Policy)
While GHID is already highly involved in causes the team is passionate about, their plan now is to create a clear offering for employees. One that highlights their volunteer benefits, as well as makes it easier for employees to take advantage of them. “Our goal is to put in place new procedures and policies to formalize individual employees’ volunteer time off,” Hullinger shared. “It’s something that’s in progress and a lot of it was ignited because of [the NobleBridge program]. We want to create structure around our offering so employees know it’s available.”
For Hullinger, employee and company volunteerism is about more than just business. It’s a personal passion. In 1999, Hullinger suffered a major traumatic event, a brain and spine injury that required him to learn how to read and walk again. At the time, he lived in the San Francisco area and began volunteering at the San Francisco Botanical Garden (formerly known as the Strybing Arboretum).
“Volunteerism helped me feel of value when I couldn’t work,” Hullinger said. Volunteering served as a sort of occupational therapy for Hullinger, who couldn’t do more than an hour or so of work in the beginning. In addition to physically benefiting from his volunteer hours, Hullinger got a first-row seat to witness the impact a team of volunteers could have. “I think I saw how much it helps when you bring in people with different skills and interests,” he posited.
Hullinger’s recovery, as well as experiences within his interior design firm, continue to drive his belief in the importance and value of volunteering. That’s why, as a team, GHID gives back to Portland and neighboring communities as much as possible.
Giving Back as a Team
The homeless crisis is close to our hearts. We love to work with organizations that assist families on the brink of homelessness [as well as] shelters that allow families to stick together.
GHID is already involved in a number of causes in Portland and the Pacific Northwest. Sammi Campbell, Hullinger’s assistant, described the firm’s existing partnership with Home Builders Foundation, as well as their strengthening connection to Portland Homeless Family Solutions. “The homeless crisis is close to our hearts,” Campbell said. “We love to work with organizations that assist families on the brink of homelessness [as well as] shelters that allow families to stick together.”
The firm also enjoys using their skills in interior design and decorating to give back in ways that, quite often, get overlooked. “Feelings matter,” Hullinger said. “Looking good and feeling good matter. And there’s the visual opportunity that’s just missed sometimes.” So, to give back, Hullinger and his team offer to do what they do best: help beautify spaces. This means designing and decorating venues for auctions and galas that give back to people in need. “Instead of writing a check,” he shared, “we’re getting some hands-on involvement. We put our skills at the forefront.”
One of Hullinger’s favorite charity projects is Angel Tree Christmas, which takes place in Washington around the holidays. Angel Tree, which is supported by the Prison Fellowship, hosts a holiday event each year for children of incarcerated parents, as well as their guardians or other parents. “It’s like a winter wonderland,” Garrison said. “They have a dinner for these people and then the kids get a gift that comes from Mom or Dad and it has a note from them. This whole event is just so Mom and Dad can get a gift in their kid’s hand.”
Hullinger and his team have been involved with Angel Tree from 2011 to 2015 and, for each memorable event, they also got to help set the stage. “We planned the theme, which required keeping it affordable and getting creative. Then we went in really early to stage and style the event. We worked alongside people within the organization. Many were parents who’d been previously incarcerated,” Hullinger remembered. He also admitted that it was one of the most fun projects his team has worked on, and it was for an amazing cause. “It also helped the team,” he explained. “It continues to give them something to reflect on and share.”
As a team, GHID hopes to make more of those memories — and an even greater impact — by joining the NobleBridge initiative.
Partnering with NobleBridge
Because of GHID’s rapid growth over the years, organizing group or even individual volunteer activities has become increasingly more challenging. ”Though volunteering remains important to us,” Campbell explained, “the more complicated it is to facilitate, the less likely it is to happen.”
As a firm, GHID hopes that their partnership with NobleBridge will help empower their employees who want to seek out causes and opportunities they’re passionate about. Hullinger also wants to stay on top of the technology side of it as well. The NobleHour tool, which is provided as a part of the NobleBridge program, “puts the volunteering mechanism back in the hands of the employee. It’s a really unique way to have privacy and autonomy.”
And while GHID has a history of corporate-wide initiatives, they’re hoping to find new opportunities and causes they may not have been aware of before. GHID hopes to give back even more to the Portland community through their involvement with the NobleBridge program.
It’s About More Than Just Beautiful Spaces
During a chat with Hullinger, one thing became crystal clear: this is a team set on giving back to the community that has helped it thrive. GHID is hoping their internal efforts to formalize volunteerism, as well as their involvement in the NobleBridge program, can help them connect with even more people and causes in the community. It may also help bust some preconceived notions about their industry and team, too.
In a luxury industry, Hullinger admits that there may be a public perception that it’s superficial or “all about the beauty.” “No matter how beautiful the spaces we create,” Hullinger said, “We truly are humble, down to earth, normal people.”
NobleBridge is excited to join forces with Garrison Hullinger Interior Design and to see how their volunteer efforts thrive in 2019.
Are you ready to join the movement and mobilize your volunteers? Connect with the NobleBridge community today.
NobleBridge is a volunteer initiative started by TreeTop Commons, LLC. It’s designed to pair businesses with nonprofits and charities. It’s goal is to create a strong volunteer culture in Portland and make it easier for people to find volunteer opportunities. NobleBridge hopes to make Portland the #1 corporate volunteer city in the United States. We want to help businesses create and foster a culture of volunteerism with their employees.
Since 2007, NobleHour has proven to be the volunteer management solution for organizations across the nation. Our plug ‘n play software connects companies, and individuals with nonprofits. Volunteer, measure the good you’re doing, and share it with others.
With offices in Lakeland, FL, and Portland, OR, the we are dedicated to empowering good in communities across the country.
By NobleHour Special Contributor:
Latasha Doyle is a writer and long term care volunteer living outside of Denver, Colorado. When she’s not writing or volunteering, she enjoys crocheting, Netflix marathons, and planning her next trip.