Indianapolis’ Starfish Initiative Named 2022 Building Community Award Winner

We're thrilled to announce Starfish Initiative has been chosen as the 2022 Building Community Award Winner!

To honor our founder's legacy of giving, Opus and the Opus Foundation® launched the Gerry Rauenhorst Building Community Award in 2015. Fueled by unwavering optimism, Gerry demonstrated an entrepreneurial spirit, creativity and a commitment to finding a better way to build a business, community and 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.

This award includes a $69,000 grant from the Foundation – $1,000 for each year of our history, which dates back to 1953.

Helping Students Succeed

Based in Indianapolis, Starfish Initiative works to “inspire, encourage, and prepare motivated high school students from the most vulnerable populations for college, career, and life success through one-on-one mentoring."

“When the Opus Indy team learned that we had been selected to choose this year's recipient, we were excited to be part of the process," said Richard Kauffman, Regional Vice President of Construction. “We considered a number of organizations, but ultimately focused on Starfish Initiative."

“Starfish has helped several thousand students realize their dream of going to college," said Brad Leimer, Director of Project Management.

In this most recent school year, 80 Starfish Initiative scholars graduated high school. Along with many other accomplishments, over 18,000 mentor hours were provided.

Engaging with Starfish on Founder's Day

The Building Community Award and Founder's Day both acknowledge our organization's history.

Our Founder's Day – April 22 – marks the date back in 1953 when our founder, Gerry Rauenhorst, signed his first contract. This defining moment was the start of the construction company that ultimately grew into The Opus Group that we know today.⁠

Gerry saw his business venture as a way to not only improve an industry and support his family, but also a means to improve and support his community. His commitment to community philanthropy became a priority and tradition engrained in our organization, which is why we recognize the day with volunteer events company wide.

“We thought starfish would be a great Founder's Day activity," said Michael Silver, Senior Project Manager. “Our timing coincided with their annual kickoff of the school year at Camp Belzer."

Indy associates brought lunch, set up activities, cleaned up. “Anything they needed help with, we were there as a helping hand," Michael said.

“We got to see the interaction between the mentors and the students through all of the activities. Whether it was ziplining or archery, it really shed a light on how impactful this organization is," Michael said. “It was a really great day, and I'm glad we were a part of it."


Congrats, Starfish Initiative!


The Opus Foundation®​  is the corporate foundation for Opus, and is building community for a better tomorrow by supporting projects and programs that make our communities better places to live, work and raise families. The Foundation is committed to improving conditions that disproportionately affect historically underinvested individuals and communities by resourcing key focus areas of early childhood education, youth development, workforce development, community revitalization and pressing/emerging needs. Read more about the Foundation's work. The Opus Foundation is a separate entity from The Opus Group and is led by its own Board of Directors.