Opus Prize leaders Gerry and Henrietta Rauenhorst

Started in 1994 by Gerald (Gerry) A. and Henrietta (Hanky) Rauenhorst, founders of the Opus companies, the Opus Prize is an annual faith-based humanitarian award, recognizing leaders and organizations that develop creative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems.

Born the son of tenant farmers and one of eight children in Olivia, Minn., Gerry began his business career selling sweet corn on the roadside at age six. He learned early lessons on 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.”

As a student at St. Thomas College, Gerry invited Hanky Schmoll, a student from the College of St. Catherine, to the Tiger Homecoming Dance. That date launched a lifetime together. The couple married in 1950 and spent the next six decades raising seven children, building a business and living out their Catholic social values.

Always conscious of the link between business success and community, Gerry and Hanky started the Opus Prize Foundation to apply innovation and universal catholic values to bring hope and opportunity to those who need it most.