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Interview with our long-time partner and HALO Award program facilitator, Blue Garnet! (Part 3 of 3)

We are pleased to share the final part of our interview with Blue Garnet where they discuss the HALO Award program’s multi-layered impact on organizational capacity and growth.

The interview was conducted with Blue Garnet team members Way-Ting Chen, Co-Founder and Senior Partner, and Yee-Sum Mak, Analyst. Also, visit their interview responses on User Experience on Program Evolution for more of Blue Garnet’s perspective. Learn more about Blue Garnet’s expansive social impact work by visiting their website at

Interview Part 3: Impact & Value

We’ve heard that HALO has a “ripple” impact on the awardee organizations. What does that mean?

Way-Ting: If you think about what we’re most actively working on throughout the HALO year, it’s the volunteer programs of awardee organizations. That said, the hard work we do to strengthen volunteer management in HALO is ultimately in service of two further areas of impact: on the individual mindsets of leadership, and the broader organization’s capacity.

Way-Ting: What’s great about the HALO year is that it makes a space to focus on what is important but not urgent (think: fire prevention vs. putting out fires). It’s inevitable for the individual leaders that participate in HALO to be impacted by this– for many of them, it’s like strategic planning and professional development wrapped up in one experience! So, we’ve seen many leaders change the way their organizations support and resource volunteer management going forward. Intriguingly, sometimes this happens even if they didn’t participate in the hands-on portions of the HALO program!

Yee-Sum: More broadly, we know stronger and more strategic volunteer programs facilitate greater integration of volunteers into the larger organization. HALO awardees report that they increasingly see volunteers as a resource to improve the quality and quantity of programming; and with it, volunteer management as an investment worth making. We’ve seen awardees come out of HALO with a greater ability to match volunteer skills with organizational needs, and consulting volunteers in planning organizational strategy and initiatives.

What’s a favorite HALO moment or memory for you?

Yee-Sum: My first reaction was the moment we came back for our first in person Peer Learning Session in 3 years. Way-Ting and I were honestly giddy about meeting people in person! I also love the HALO award luncheons and teas…

Way-Ting: I never get out of one of those without tearing up!

Yee-Sum: Same here– they’re always incredibly inspirational and emotional, and remind me of how grateful I am to be part of this community.

Way-Ting: I think my favorite HALO moments generally coalesce around the “aha” or “lightbulb” moment, when the HALO team sees the bigger opportunity and that they can make it real. It happens at different points in the year, but for almost every one of the organizations I’ve worked with over the past 12 years, we get there, and like magic, the whole world just opens up! It’s a great thing to witness, and it always gives me a rush.

Way-Ting: Oh, and if you want to hear more from HALO awardees themselves, check out the HALO Stories website!



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