Today marks the one year anniversary of our founder, Gerald (Gerry) Rauenhorst’s passing. Appropriately, GHR staff are spending the day volunteering in the community as part of the fourth annual Founder’s Day. There could be no more fitting tribute to Gerry’s legacy.
Gerry was born in Olivia, Minn., in 1927, the son of tenant farmers and one of eight children. Gerry learned early practical lessons about the necessity of hard work and faith, anchoring his life on the words of St. Augustine: “I shall work as if everything depended on me; I shall pray as if everything depended on God.” He married his partner in life and philanthropy Hanky Schmoll in 1950 and spent the next six decades building a family and business, ever-mindful of their shared commitment to Catholic social values.
As I reflect on the last year, I know Gerry would be satisfied and content with what we have achieved. Together, with our valued partners, we have:
- Awarded more than $17 million in transformative grants to 103 organizations worldwide, in the areas of health, education and global development.
- Supported breakthrough Alzheimer’s studies that have the potential to prove prevention is possible.
- Approved funding to bring City Connects to the Twin Cities, offering urban Catholic school students the support they need to truly succeed – whether that be housing support, food shelf access or tutoring.
- Continued to advance our focus on innovative global development grant making by partnering with Catholic sisters, advancing inter-religious action and focusing on children and families in Zambia and Cambodia.
- Started a new chapter in GHR’s new offices, located in downtown Minneapolis, providing the ability to connect with grantees and partners in a powerful new way.
While the world is profoundly changed through his absence, I’m confident Gerry’s legacy lives on through the work we do. To learn more, visit our history and legacy page.