Story originally written for the 2019 Catholic Foundation Annual Report
As Catholics, we’re all familiar with Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed. “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full-grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” Ronald and Shirley Huss describe their faith the same way. The small seed was planted early in their life, at parochial school, and grew through their college years. Today, they’ve made it their mission to nurture the faith of others through endowments that create scholarships for young Catholic men and women. This is the story of how they worked with The Catholic Foundation of Southern Nebraska to bring their dream to life.
What drove you to set these philanthropic giving goals, and to choose an endowment to create scholarships?
Ron Huss (RH): Our philanthropic goals for the Huss Catholic Fraternity and Sorority endowment funds and St. Gregory Seminary endowment fund entail several areas:
The young college students we help will be our future business leaders and workers, future married couple with families, future priests and nuns and future single individuals. This is our pipeline for the future and the young students are capable of carrying our Catholic values faithfully and successfully into the future.
Contributing to the St. Gregory the Great endowment is like “planting a mustard seed” and watching it flourish later. The young priests we have coming up the ranks have the talents to handle the workload presented to them on a spiritual level. The men and women that we are fostering in the Catholic fraternity and sorority are a definite asset to our young priests and sorority communities they live in.
Our motivation to give to these endowments was formed many years ago. It started with my parochial high school education, then continued with my involvement at St. Thomas Aquinas Newman Center at UNL. Our motivation continues as we get older with our ties to the Newman Center and seeing how they are producing top-notch young faith-filled graduates that will fill the needs of our churches, workforce, and families. We need to leave the world in a better place than we found it – our future looks bright with our spiritually-led youth.
We are at a crossroads now, so we need to equip our future successors with all of the tools possible to handle any situation. As we have watched our parents’ generation go by, and now our own generation leaving us, I’m excited – I know the next generations will do great things! When you are able to give back, it is very humbling and a blessing to be able to help our dynamic young Catholic men and women. We can help equip them to face the future and carry on our faith by sharing it with the world.
What did you discuss with the Foundation that led to your decision to implement an Endowment?
RH: Previous work with The Catholic Foundation gave me the idea about these endowments. I have already tithed to many charities in the past but felt a need to start giving forward, resulting in the establishment of these endowments. The Catholic Foundation helped me accomplish this need.
We are very blessed in many ways to live in
Nebraska — with three Nebraska dioceses and all
of their churches, schools, Newman Centers, bishops, priests, and devoted families. My zeal for my faith, along with my wife Shirley (a convert), has definitely grown with being a part of this great spiritual diocese and has been quite a spiritual journey for us. We are very blessed, humbled, grateful and privileged to do our little part for our future youth and their spiritual needs through The Foundation endowments.
We found that The Catholic Foundation is a very good steward of their funds and clients to be able to serve the needs of others in the future.