Building Community Award

To honor our founder's legacy of giving, we launched the Gerry Rauenhorst Building Community Award with the Opus Foundation® in 2015. This year's winner will be awarded $65,000 to commemorate our rich history and tradition that began 65 years ago. For their impactful work, the remaining finalists will receive $5,000 each.

Fueled by unwavering optimism, Gerry demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and a commitment to finding a better way to build a business, community and a value-centered life. With an enduring belief that business has a responsibility to strengthen society, Gerry ensured giving back was a cornerstone of our organization.

The public is encouraged to vote and spread the word about the Award. There is a limit of one vote per device.

Vote today, and spread the word!

Key dates:

  • Voting opens on April 24 at 9:00 AM CDT.
  • Voting closes on May 4 at 3:00 PM CDT.
  • The winner will be announced May 11 at 10:00 AM CDT.
Building Community Award Logo

Anyone can vote once for the nonprofit that best exemplifies the spirit of the award. Scroll down to vote. There are 9 days left to vote!

The Finalists

Finalists for the Building Community Award are impacting our markets across the country. In their own words, read how they are strengthening communities.

Girls on the Run - Chicago

Girls on the Run - Chicago

Representing Chicago/Milwaukee

Girls on the Run develops positive physical and social-emotional health in 3rd – 8th grade girls through a physical-activity based program. Learn More

Metro Caring

Metro Caring

Representing Denver

Metro Caring addresses hunger’s systemic issues with a grocery store, job-readiness program, financial literacy classes and cooking and nutrition education. Learn More

Variety - The Children’s Charity

Variety - The Children’s Charity

Representing Des Moines

Variety – The Children’s Charity provides funding to nonprofit children’s organizations for building expansions and renovations, life-saving equipment, programming and more. Learn More

Elevate Indianapolis

Elevate Indianapolis

Representing Indianapolis

Elevate works to equip urban youth with the capabilities to thrive and contribute to the community. Learn More

reStart, Inc.

reStart, Inc.

Representing Kansas City

reStart is a pioneer of Housing First, a solution-driven, person-focused approach to serving persons who are homeless. Learn More

The Link

The Link

Representing Minneapolis

The Link has worked with thousands of youth and families to overcome the impacts of poverty and social injustice. Learn More

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Phoenix

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Phoenix

Representing Phoenix

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul works to feed, clothe, house and heal Arizonans in need of assistance. Learn More

North Side Community School Early Education Center

North Side Community School Early Education Center

Representing St. Louis

North Side Community School Early Education Center ensures 100% of pre-K students enter kindergarten with skills necessary for school success. Learn More

Read the Building Community Award Official Voting Rules for more details about the award and the voting process.

Learn about the 2015, 2016 and 2017 award winners and finalists.

Girls on the Run - Chicago

Representing Chicago/Milwaukee
Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program for 3rd – 8th grade girls. The innovative program combines training for a 5K with our research-based curricula designed to encourage positive physical and social-emotional health.

Girls face social pressures and conflicting messages about how they should act and who they should be. At Girls on the Run, we inspire girls to recognize their inner strength and celebrate what makes them one of a kind. The program culminates with girls positively impacting their communities through a service project and being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5K. The 5K provides girls with a tangible experience of healthy goal setting and success and lays the foundation for future achievement.

This year, Girls on the Run-Chicago will serve 11,000 girls across 8 Illinois counties, empowering them with the confidence and character they need to become strong, healthy women.
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Metro Caring

Representing Denver

For over 40 years, Metro Caring has been rooted in the Denver community, welcoming neighbors into our free Fresh-Foods Market, because we believe nutritious food is a right, not a privilege. We know that hunger is about more than access to food. It’s about breaking down barriers to livable wage jobs and making it easier for families to break the cycle of poverty. Ask the 21,000 families who came to us last year. Metro Caring, with the help of over 400 volunteers a week, provides comprehensive programming, such as our job-readiness program, financial literacy classes and cooking and nutrition education, so that every person can provide for their own family. We want to address the systemic issue, not just provide your next meal. It takes the whole community to help everyone thrive. Join us – together, we can end hunger at its root.

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Variety - The Children’s Charity

Representing Des Moines
Variety – The Children's Charity believe kids should be kids—no matter life's challenges! Through the generosity of our donors, we're able to provide funding to nonprofit children's organizations for building expansions and renovations, life-saving equipment, programming needs and more.

Our core programs include the Compassion Fund—a fund that provides financial assistance to families when their child is hospitalized. We also have mobility-focused programs that awards bike helmets and locks to children who have never enjoyed their own bike and adaptive bikes and equipment for children who live with special needs.

At Variety, we believe that all children should have the opportunity to play. That's why we're working with Iowa communities to build inclusive playgrounds for children with and without special needs to play together. Funds raised through this award will help to build an inclusive playground in Des Moines so that all children have the opportunity to play.

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Elevate Indianapolis

Representing Indianapolis
Elevate is more than a class; Elevate is an invitation into consistent life-changing relationships beginning in the fourth grade. Currently serving over 300 Indianapolis Public School students, Elevate's mission is to build long-term, life-changing relationships with urban youth equipping them to thrive and contribute to their community.

Elevate students participate in an elective, accredited class run by four salaried teacher mentors who engage students both in and out of the classroom 365 days a year. Our holistic delivery includes (1) in-class teaching for high school students, including preparing them to teach weekly to elementary students; (2) year-round mentoring; (3) summer adventure experiences; and (4) post-secondary preparation programs.

Elevate's goal is to reduce drop-out rates, increase classroom involvement and provide mentorship to encourage students in their academic involvement. Our students become people of character, graduate at significantly higher rates than peers and are sought after by area colleges and businesses.
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reStart, Inc.

Representing Kansas City

Too many people—even those with the best intentions—paint homeless persons with broad strokes and old stereotypes. reStart is different. We look at each individual; we listen to their stories, believe in their futures and treat them with the profound respect they have earned by simply being human. And we have found that looking at the people we serve in a fresh light has revealed new and better ways to win against homelessness. Like Gerry Rauenhorst, reStart demonstrates an entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and a commitment to finding a better way to build a community. We are a pioneer of Housing First, a solution-driven, person-focused approach to serving persons who are homeless. We share the Foundation’s mission by providing stability for ALL children, investing in community revitalization and changing lives. 2018 is reStart’s year because Evie Craig, our CEO, was born in 1953, and she thinks that 65 rocks!

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The Link

Representing Minneapolis
For 27 years, The Link has worked with thousands of youth and families to overcome the impacts of poverty and social injustice. In 2017 The Link’s 18 programs helped 265 youth and families receive stable housing, 2,500 youth were provided services to prevent further involvement in the juvenile justice system and 132 sexually exploited and/or trafficked youth received emergency shelter, housing and supportive services.

The Link is honored to receive a Building Community Award nomination. The nomination demonstrates our commitment to our community and showcases the optimistic and innovative approach we have to the youth and families we work with. Much like Gerry Rauenhorst, The Link believes that building connections will impact the communities in which we live. We are dedicated to helping meet the needs of our community's most vulnerable young people.
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The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Phoenix

Representing Phoenix
For the past 70 years, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has worked to feed, clothe, house and heal Arizonans in need of assistance. With the support, labor and love of committed donors and volunteers, SVdP impacts thousands of lives every year through service toward our neighbors, valuing who they are as we respond to what they need. 

In the same way The Opus Group has an esteemed history of building literal and figurative communities in every market it serves, SVdP has a history of programs designed to foster resiliency and allow those we serve to rebuild themselves. Currently we have thirteen programs that work together to address the physical, economic and emotional barriers that prevent people from moving forward in their lives. SVdP is grateful for partners like Opus who believe this work is worth our investment as a community and whose support makes this community possible.
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North Side Community School Early Education Center

Representing St. Louis
The North Side Community School Early Childhood Center was created in 2011 to ensure 100% of students enter kindergarten with the cognitive, emotional, social and behavioral skills necessary to succeed in school. It is a rigorous program that is changing the trajectory of its students’ academic success. Most students enter performing one or two years behind their peers nationally. Half of the elementary students enter school not knowing basic colors or how to write their name. However, the teachers work tirelessly to catch them up. Among other skills, students master the alphabet, are able to count to 100 and begin to read and write. This progress is possible because of the high expectations set for students and their families and because of the high-quality instruction delivered by experienced early elementary teachers.
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