What Would It Take? Highlights from 2016 | GHR Foundation

From the CEO & Chair:

Moving into 2016, GHR Foundation had an opportunity to reflect on progress made in the previous year and look to the future with a deep well of optimism.

As a team, we often examine the future of GHR's work through the lens of a specific question:

What would it take to ______?

What it would take to ensure all children are living in family or family-like environments? What would it take to prevent Alzheimer's disease? What would it take to close the educational achievement gap in the Twin Cities?

What would it take to find new, innovative ideas from unlikely actors? What would it take to answer Pope Francis' universal call to 'build bridges?' What would it take to respond to the world's most urgent and pressing issues?

These are the conversations that push us to think creatively as we examine our goals and seek to challenge the status quo. As we moved into a new year, we asked ourselves: What would it take to be the philanthropy our legacy demands?

I am pleased to share highlights of GHR Foundation’s progress in 2016. With an eye toward long-term, sustainable impact, we focused on asking those big questions and finding big, surprising, ambitious answers.

We are excited by what we have learned, and we're even more excited to see what will happen next year. I look forward to sharing how thinking big will help us find and partner with those who make the world a better place.


Amy R. Goldman, GHR Foundation CEO & Chair

GHR Foundation improves lives by working toward a just, peaceful, healthy future. GHR is pioneering design-build philanthropy to create change with our partners around the world in the areas of global development, education and health.

In 2016, GHR Foundation awarded more than $21.8 million in grants.

{Global Development}

Applying global best practices and local solutions to complex challenges.

Children in Families

17 grantees ● Cambodia, Uganda, Zambia ● $3.1 million

Highlight | Progress for Children and Families in Cambodia

GHR's Children in Families funding supports child protection organizations that strengthen families, respond to children without family care and drive further evidence of innovative approaches. One such organization is M’lup Russey in Cambodia, which promotes best practice in alternative care and provides services to young people so they can develop as healthy individuals. GHR's partnership with M’lup Russey began at the beginning of 2016, and they are already returning impressive results.

In its first six months of funding, M’Lup Russey provided training on minimum standard of residential care of children to rehabilitation and residential care coordinators, and raised awareness of the new minimum standards of residential care for children among caregivers and government staff. They have built strong working relationships with caregivers who can now rely on them for further assistance. One family to which a child was reunified has benefited from M’lup Russey's services—the family members were able to move into a new house and find jobs as vegetable sellers, and the child’s case was closed in March.

M’lup Russey recognizes that youth are key to supporting communities and vulnerable children, and are identifying activities to add to their programs that will build youth capacity by teaching skills, creating job opportunities and helping them develop into mature leaders. The inspiring work of grantees like M’lup Russey brings us closer to a world where all children—especially those at risk of losing or without parental care—are living in a stable, positive, long-term family or family-like environment.

Watch | Strengthening Children and Families in Zambia

Looking Forward | Cross-Initiative Collaboration in Uganda

In 2017, GHR is launching a collaboration between our Children in Families and Sister Support initiatives. When the Ugandan parliament passed progressive legislation in 2016 to ensure better outcomes for children living outside of family care, Catholic sisters decided to step up and championed reform. With guidance and funding from GHR, they formed Catholic Care for Children in Uganda, which is leading the way toward a family-like environment for every child by strengthening Ugandan congregations in ways that ultimately benefit children.

Inter-Religious Action

16 grantees ● 5+ countries ● $3.4 million

Highlight | Partnerships Emerge at Inter-Religious Convening in Nigeria

GHR Foundation's Inter-Religious Action initiative works to improve development outcomes, build lasting community connections and advance peace by mobilizing religious leaders and communities to address common challenges. As part of this work, GHR partnered in 2016 with USAID, Religions for Peace and the African Council of Religious Leaders to co-host a convening in Abuja, Nigeria on partnering for peace and prosperity in Africa. The conference, Faith Works Africa, brought together more than 300 stakeholders from 40 countries to have substantive conversations on how faith actors and inter-religious work can help communities build resilience and address development challenges.

Faith Works Africa began with a keynote speech from Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, calling for more inter-religious collaboration to build peace in his country and beyond. Other presentations at the conference featured the voices of youth and women from the faith community, senior religious leaders and other diverse participants. The important stories and experiences they shared inspired breakout sessions, which were designed to seed new partnerships and fuel the creativity necessary to discern productive next steps. These idea-rich sessions will help inform future inter-religious work.

GHR also sponsored the participation of 15 Generation Change fellows associated with the United States Institute of Peace—social entrepreneurs and peacebuilders working in their home countries to restore peace, counter extremism and work toward justice. We are hopeful the meetings held at Faith Works Africa will result in concrete new partnerships, and we look forward to seeing how relationships evolve in this critical field.

Watch | GHR in Conversation with USAID

Looking Forward | Hope in the Central African Republic

As we reflect on our grant making, we ask ourselves an important question: Where do we find the greatest opportunities for change? One such area is emerging—our partnership with USAID in the Central African Republic, a country in great need of healing. GHR knows collaboration and discussion between religious leaders and communities of different faiths are essential to solving stubborn development problems, and may be key to building the relationships and social cohesion necessary to restore peace. In 2017, we look forward to pursuing impact, responding to emerging needs and supporting our incredible partners in the Central African Republic and around the world.

Sister Support

18 grantees ● 6+ countries ● $2.9 million

Highlight | Working to Engage Younger Catholic Sisters

GHR Foundation's Sister Support funding seeks to ensure a vital future for Catholic sisters, marked by congregations that are well-led, well-resourced and powerful in spiritual witness and service. We are especially proud to fund initiatives utilizing the enthusiasm and creativity of younger sisters as they respond to new opportunities created by technology and a changing landscape. One of these initiatives is A Nun’s Life, an international online ministry helping people learn more about religious life.

A Nun's Life recently celebrated its tenth anniversary with a Motherhouse Road Trip, where the A Nun’s Life team traveled from Toledo to Chicago—where A Nun’s Life began—to Silicon Valley. Along the way, they visited motherhouses, livestreamed podcasts, tutored congregations in social media and networked with young sisters. The team posted on social media and blogged throughout their trip. During Pope Francis’ Year of Mercy, GHR celebrates women who have chosen lives of prayer and service as Catholic sisters. The world is enriched by their faithfulness, creativity, service and compassion.

Watch | The Future of Catholic Sisters

Looking Forward | A Report on International Sisters in the United States

In 2017, GHR is helping launch the first national study on the 4,000 international sisters living in the United States. With our support, researchers from Trinity Washington University and the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University are exploring the experiences and contributions of international sisters, and will share results at convenings in Washington D.C. and Rome. The report and a study guide will be available in English and Spanish.


Bridging gaps and building strong educational communities.

Catholic Schools

15 grantees ● Twin Cities, MN ● $3.1 million

Highlight | Emerging Models for Catholic Schools

​GHR Foundation's Catholic Schools funding works to ensure Twin Cities’ urban Catholic schools are faith-filled, academically excellent educational communities. One way GHR supports Catholic schools is by testing and incubating new models. We search for and fund new approaches to instruction, student support and governance. Several models are currently in early phases of implementation in the Twin Cities, including the Ascension Catholic Academy, which launched in time for the 2016-2017 school year.

Catholic Academy centralized the governance and operations of three K-8 schools: Ascension Catholic School, St. Peter Claver Catholic School and St. John Paul II Catholic Prep School. Each school primarily serves scholars from racially and ethnically diverse low-income families, and all three depend upon fundraising to support tuition assistance for scholars and general operations. As part of the Academy:

  • Centralized operations will lead to economies of scale and more efficient operations
  • Each school will be able to maintain its unique culture and long-held relationships with colleagues, its parish and its parishioners, families and the community
  • Staff members will be able to collaborate across schools, sharing best practices in urban Catholic education and supporting one another as they work to close the achievement gap
  • The schools will continue adding to the health and vitality of their communities

Looking Forward | Innovation in School Leadership

In 2017, GHR is partnering with the Healey Education Foundation in New Jersey to support the implementation of Healey’s unique governance model for Catholic schools in the Twin Cities. The model strengthens leadership that includes a lay board of specified jurisdiction, and seeks to boost schools’ fundraising capacity and marketing skills with the goal of establishing financial sustainability within three years.

Higher Education

3 grantees ● United States ● $3 million

Highlight | New Grant to St. Catherine University’s Henrietta Schmoll School of Health

GHR Foundation's Higher Education funding supports innovative, high-quality education at Catholic universities that promotes the growth of students who will transform their communities and the world. In February of 2016, GHR approved an $18 million grant to St. Catherine University to support growth and innovation in healthcare education. The grant aligns with the missions of both organizations by strengthening healthcare education while honoring GHR co-founder and St. Catherine University alumna, Henrietta Schmoll Rauenhorst. The investment supports the ongoing expansion of the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health.

St. Catherine University is using the grant to develop new programs and fund technology and faculty as it addresses the critical and ever-changing needs in senior living, primary care and global health. GHR Foundation is pleased to support St. Catherine University as it strengthens its globally-focused, collaborative approach to educating a diverse student population and addresses the extreme shortage of skilled healthcare professionals. Through this gift, GHR honors and advances our founders' values by deepening the impact of the school.

Looking Forward | Supporting Innovation

In 2017, GHR is supporting higher education institutions in transformational efforts to deliver programmatic excellence, graduate world-class scholars who exhibit a strong ethical core and create modern, accessible learning environments at Marquette University, St. Catherine University and the University of St. Thomas.


Funding research to prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's Prevention

3 grantees ● United States & Global ● $4.3 million

Highlight | Pioneering Alzheimer’s Prevention Study Starts Enrollment

GHR’s Health initiative partners with organizations conducting innovative trials to pursue the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. One such trial is the Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative (API) Generation Study, which, in 2016, began enrollment in high-risk older adults to validate the use of genetic screening and identify an effective approach to prevent the disease.

Led by Dr. Eric Reiman and Dr. Pierre Tariot of Banner Alzheimer’s Institute (BAI), this pioneering multi-site prevention study is working to determine whether two investigational anti-amyloid compounds can prevent or delay the emergence of Alzheimer’s symptoms in people at a high genetic risk of developing the disease. The study will involve more than 1,300 cognitively healthy adults, age 60 to 75, who have inherited two copies of APOE4 gene. Roughly one in four people carry a single copy of the gene, which is strongly linked to late-onset Alzheimer’s.

The Generation Study is part of the API, an international collaborative led by BAI to accelerate the evaluation of promising treatments. The study is sponsored by Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis and American biotechnology company Amgen in collaboration with BAI, with funding from the National Institute on Aging as well as GHR, Alzheimer’s Association, Fidelity Biosciences Research Institute and Banner Alzheimer’s Foundation.

Watch | The A4 Study

Looking Forward | A4 Study Enrollment

In 2017, GHR anticipates the completion of enrollment in the A4 Study, led by Dr. Reisa Sperling of Harvard University. With results anticipated in 2020, research from the A4 Study is determining the effectiveness of prevention therapy before Alzheimer's disease impacts the brain, working toward FDA approval for prevention therapy in the general population. Completed enrollment is a key step in the progress of the study, which could prove critical in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

{Looking Forward}

The BridgeBuilder Challenge

Our world faces complex, interconnected challenges that cannot be solved in isolation. Many of these issues are emerging and growing at a rate that requires immediate action to provide relief, restoration and reconciliation.

In 2017, GHR Foundation is partnering with OpenIDEO to conduct an open challenge. The first of three annual challenges, the 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge leverages the universal call from Pope Francis to ‘build bridges’ addressing the pressing and emergent concerns of our time in the areas of peace, prosperity and planet.

With this program, GHR—in collaboration with OpenIDEO, an open innovation platform—is seeking out and investing in organizations developing solutions for the global good. Stemming from our founders’ values, the challenge aims to support new and innovative projects that respond to needs in two or more of these areas, in the United States and around the world. The top ideas selected from the challenge receive a share of $1 million in funding, in addition to support provided by our experts. All participants benefit from the platform's collaborative improvement process and opportunities for connection to new partners and potential funders.

Remembering Peter Karoff

It is with a heavy heart that GHR shares the sad news of GHR board member Peter Karoff’s passing.

Peter was a longtime friend of GHR and a leading contributor to the world of Philanthropy. Inspired by the idea of strategic philanthropy and thinking creatively to increase the impact of philanthropy on society, he founded The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI) in 1989. TPI is now a pioneer non-profit consulting firm and a leading influence of thought in the philanthropic world. Many of Peter’s revolutionary ideas are captured in his book, The World We Want: New Dimensions in Philanthropy and Social Change.

Peter played a key role in establishing the Rauenhorst family foundations--an accomplishment he took great pride in--and was instrumental in the founding and shaping of GHR's vision of improving lives by working towards a just, peaceful, healthy future. Peter’s decades of contributions as a board member and advisor cannot be overstated—he was simply exemplary, and we take great joy in having dedicated the Karoff study at our offices in his name.

An avid poet and a master of words, Peter’s poetic approach to life and philanthropy is a true testament that philanthropy and social change is an art form—​one that he mastered and taught with perfection. GHR sends our thoughts and prayers to Peter’s family. We celebrate his life and the legacy he helped create at GHR and many other foundations.

{Our Board}

GHR Foundation's board of directors does more than carry out legal and fiduciary responsibilities and oversee grant making—our board members drive results that improve lives and build a better future for all.

In 2016, several members of the GHR board and committees accompanied GHR staff on a site visit to Zambia, where they had opportunities to meet with grantee partners and the children and families they serve, as well as community representatives, government representatives and Catholic sisters working with vulnerable children. Our visit allowed us to deepen our engagement in the region, strengthen our reputation and offer our personal support to those working to change the lives of families and vulnerable children in Zambia.

2016 GHR board members:

Amy Rauenhorst Goldman — Chief Executive Officer & Chair, GHR Foundation

Peter Karoff (deceased) — Founder, The Philanthropic Initiative

Sister Carol Keehan — President & CEO, Catholic Health Association

Joe Rauenhorst — Chief Executive Officer, Charter School Properties, Inc.

Mark Rauenhorst — President, Marren Properties

Matt Rauenhorst — Vice President, Real Estate Development, Opus Development Company, L.L.C.

Timothy A. Welsh — Vice Chairman, U.S. Bank

Kristine Widmer — Chair, Opus Foundation

Thank you!

To learn more about GHR Foundation, visit our website. If you have further questions, we'd love to connect!

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