Holthus and Raikeses honored with highest volunteer service award
Kelly Holthus of York and Jeff and Tricia Raikes of Seattle and Ashland, Nebraska, are 2019 recipients of the Perry W. Branch Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service.
The recipients were recognized by the University of Nebraska Foundation at its annual meeting of trustees on Oct. 4, 2019.
The Branch Award is named for Perry W. Branch, the first employee and executive director of the University of Nebraska Foundation, and serves to commemorate the importance of volunteers to the organization. The foundation was founded in 1936 during the Great Depression and was an all-volunteer organization for its first several years of operation.
Kelly Holthus believes in ‘power of good with philanthropy’
For years, Kelly Holthus has generously devoted his time to the University of Nebraska Foundation and was a member of its board of directors from 2001 to 2007.
“Kelly Holthus has been a trustee for 30 years and was an active committee or board member for 20 years, serving across every one of the foundation’s committees,” said Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation. “We can’t say that about a lot of people who’ve had that length of involvement as well as that breadth of service.”
Holthus has been associated with Cornerstone Bank since 1965, leading it from 1977 to 2015 and currently serving as its board chairman. He’s past president of the American Bankers Association and the Nebraska Bankers Association and has provided volunteer leadership to other national, local, civic and philanthropic organizations.
Holthus, together with his wife, Virginia, has enjoyed supporting various areas of the university, including the UNL College of Business, Husker Athletics and the Nebraska Alumni Association, among other areas.
“I think it’s very clear that Kelly ― and I always include Virginia as well, because they are inseparable ― they believe in the power of good with philanthropy,” said Ronnie Green, chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “They have provided longtime support to the university, both financially and emotionally, and are some of the greatest fans of Husker athletics as well. They believe in the power of the university, they believe in supporting our students and in supporting our programs, especially in business.”
Kristie Holthus Holoch, a daughter of Kelly Holthus’ and the president and CEO of Cornerstone Bank, said her father’s saying is to “let your conscience be your guide.”
“He says that all the time, and it’s kind of true and is how we all try to live,” said Holoch. “You want to live in a good manner, so people can trust you and trust what you’re going to do.”
Kelly Holthus attended UNL and is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Graduate School of Banking.
Jeff and Tricia Raikes ‘epitome of catalytic philanthropy at work’
Jeff and Tricia Raikes, also 2019 recipients of the Perry W. Branch Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service, have devoted their time and talents to the University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska Foundation over many years.
“The Branch Award commemorates volunteer service, and there are few people whose service has had as profound of an impact as what Jeff and Tricia have done,” said Hastings.
The Raikeses’ volunteer service includes the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management, the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, university campaign leadership and more.
Tricia Raikes is a founding member of Women Investing in Nebraska, established in 2011 to encourage women to provide philanthropic support each year to the University of Nebraska and to a project of a Nebraska nonprofit organization.
The Raikeses became foundation trustees in 1993, and Tricia continues to serve in this role today.
Jeff Raikes is past leader of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was a member of Microsoft’s senior leadership team. Tricia was among the first employees of Microsoft, and her background includes leadership of Creative Services at Microsoft and cofounding a technology marketing firm.
Together, the Raikeses established the Raikes Foundation, which works toward a just and inclusive society where young people have the support needed to reach their full potential.
“Jeff and Tricia Raikes are the epitome of catalytic philanthropy at work,” said Green. “Their impact on the University of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska Foundation ― both through their own philanthropy and energizing philanthropy from others, to their service in so many different ways over the years ― has benefited the University of Nebraska in immeasurable ways.”
Justin Raikes, the Raikeses’ nephew, said if there is such a thing as “the Nebraska way,” that Jeff and Tricia are people who embody that through and through.
“They’re hardworking who come in with a smile on their face, who are competitive but who want to compete in the right way and do things the right way and really love making everything around them better,” Justin Raikes said. “That’s something you can see in everything they’ve done, in every stop they’ve made, whether it’s been in business or in philanthropy or anything else.”