Story by S.L. Hansen
LINCOLN (SNR) - Chris Raun, a life-long Nebraskan and long-time member of St. Joseph Parish in Lincoln, has been named executive director of the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Lincoln.
With his personal dedication to charitable giving, his understanding of many Catholic apostolates in the diocese, and his background in finance and marketing, Raun was eager to take on his new role.
“We’re helping people to be charitable,” he explained. “We’re helping parishes, agencies and individuals manage money to be used in meeting their charitable objectives.”
Raised on a farm near Heartwell, Raun attended Holy Family Parish with his family and went to school in Minden. After graduating from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) he began a successful marketing career that culminated with part ownership of a prominent agency with offices in Lincoln and Omaha.
Throughout his life, Raun worked with investments. He took a great interest in his sister’s career as an estate planning attorney.
“Financial planning was always something I spent time on,” he said. “It was an avocation to me.”
Five years ago, Raun opened his own financial services practice. He dedicated himself to helping other people grow and preserve their assets, manage risk, and plan for retirement and business succession. He also provided services in estate planning, tax planning and charitable giving.
Raun and his wife, Teresa, were blessed with five sons and have three grandchildren (so far). The older two sons are married and active in their respective parishes. The younger two are freshmen, one at Pius X High School in Lincoln, and one at UNL.
The Rauns’ other son, Nathan, died at the age of 13 due to a brain tumor. Both Mr. and Mrs. Raun have spoken to various parishes, schools and other Catholic organizations about Nathan’s stalwart faith and continuing influence since his death.
The Rauns have been very active in the Church. In addition to serving on various boards at Pius X High School, they have volunteered with FOCCUS marriage preparation and GodTeens at their parish. They are members of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, and Mr. Raun is an acolyte, lector and Eucharistic minister.
Raun makes time for other apostolates as well. He is a member of the Saint Vincent DePaul Society, the St. Joseph Men’s Group, and the Serra Club, where he is a past president. He has also worked with Catholic Social Services, and he has been a board member of Phi Kappa Theta, the Catholic fraternity at UNL, since it was reestablished some years ago.
When the executive director position for the Catholic Foundation opened up recently, Raun prayerfully threw his hat into the ring.
“I’ve been involved in so many things in the Church, it gives me good background for this,” he said.
At the Foundation, Raun works with an experienced staff, including Les Mach, the planned giving officer, and Jeannette Theer. He is also backed by a board of five clergy and 16 laypersons from around the diocese.
“These are people with a heart for the Church, and their talents and expertise are invaluable to us,” he said.
Raun is grateful to his predecessors for their excellent work in setting up the Foundation with a solid infrastructure and highly capable portfolio managers who focus on morally responsible investing.
“They teed the ball up for me,” Raun stated. “Now the most important thing I can do is get the word out about the Foundation, what it does and how we can help people be charitable.”
He continued, “Sometimes in our lives, we have the ability to give our time and our talent, but maybe we don’t have the treasure we’d like. Often times, the treasure comes later.”
Raun believes the willingness to give is as important as the amount of dollars.
“All of us have to think about tithing and giving to the extent that we can,” he said. “It’s about furthering the objectives of the Church in general, serving God and people.”
The Catholic Foundation was launched in 1999 in relationship to the “Crossing the Threshold” diocesan campaign.
“It provides people with an opportunity to give to their parishes, their schools, other charitable institutions, and to be assured that that money will be used as they wish, period,” Msgr. Barr stated. “The intent of the donor is sacred.”
Raun is ready to help more parishes, organizations, and individuals avail themselves to the smart, morally responsible financial services that are available through the Foundation. To set up a private appointment or to invite him to speak at your parish or other Catholic organization, call (402) 488-2142.