About Us



31 July - Aug 3, 2019

Holiday Inn Fargo Hotel and Convention Center 

in Fargo, North Dakota

Save This Date!

Hosted by your
Board of Directors


GRHS Address
1125 West Turnpike Avenue
Bismarck, ND 58501

(701) 223-6167
Fax: (701) 223-4421

8:00 a.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Monday-Friday Central Time

Office Manager
Rachel Schmidt
rachel email

Two Million Dollar Fundraising Campaign

Fundraising Campaign Brochure Cover

Fundraising Campaign Brochure

Fundraising Campaign Introduction

by GRHS Board of Directors and GRHS Fundraising Committee

During any election year, it is amazing how much money politicians raise to get elected.  It is obvious that donors give to them because their passions are the same passion as that of the respective politicians.

We members of GRHS have strong a passion, also. Our passion reflects the mission of GRHS, to gather and PRESERVE our common ancestry and heritage. We are members of GRHS because of this common passion. That's why we attend GRHS conventions, visit our international headquarters, constantly ask Rachel for genealogy help, do our family histories, donate our materials at our deaths to GRHS, etc.

Often, however, passion must face reality. In the case of politicians, not having enough dollars can often equate to not getting elected. In the case of GRHS, not having enough dollars can equate to a) a reduction in services available to members, and/or b) increasing dues and prices of materials it sells. Above all, it can equate to our passion becoming a footnote in history or even forgotten!

In the late 1800's, our forefathers and foremothers had the foresight to emigrate from South Russia. In the early 1970's, prominent Germans from Russia descendants had the foresight to realize that unless they formed an organization (GRHS) with the purpose of preserving the history of those forefathers and foremothers, their stories would be lost forever. In the late 1990's, forward thinking leaders of GRHS thought ahead; the beautiful Home of Record is the result of that thinking. It is now our turn to look further ahead and do our part to continue this legacy of forward thinking as it relates to the preservation of our passion and our history.

Are you a member of GRHS because:

  • My folks bought me a membership.
  • I enjoy getting together at conventions to make maistub and eat kuchen.
  • I am not able to find in history books the history of Germans from Russia; only at GRHS can it be found.
  • I like to read about as well as talk about "old times".
  • History was my favorite subject in school.
  • I like the sound of the "old" German.
  • I like the German Russian songs, both church and lay songs.
  • I believe that the stories of the struggles and hardships Germans from Russia endured must be preserved in much the same way the Holocaust stories are preserved, in one place.
  • I grew up during times when we were poor and didn't know it.
  • I believe that the stories of the joys and fun times Germans from Russia experienced  must be preserved.
  • The recipes of all those wonderful Germans from Russia foods must be tried and preserved.
  • I believe in giving back for all that has been given to me by my Germans from Russia ancestors.
  • The belief our Germans from Russia ancestors had in their creator and the hereafter is of special interest to me
  • I believe a strong, viable GRHS is a legacy to my children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
  • I like talking with Rachel and hearing her laugh.
If you answered yes to one or more of the above reasons that you belong to GRHS, then you have the same passion as your forefathers and foremothers. We call upon you to show that passion as you plan your gifting as it relates to GRHS (or HFGR).

Simply stated, the Home of Record [GRHS International Headquarters / August and Kathryn (Schauer) Haas Building] in Bismarck, North Dakota, USA, contains the history of unsere leute (our people). It is the only place in the world where all of the above, and more, can be found. As we all know, dollars are needed to staff it, pay its light bills, pay the insurance, pay the heat bills, pay the taxes, maintain the beautiful building, etc. Dollars are also needed to support all of GRHS' varied activities it uses to gather and preserve our story, such as the Youth Committees' objectives, such as the acquisition of valuable records, such as the publication of cookbooks and other historical materials, etc.

These remarks are a lead-in to the announcement that at the July 2012 Annual Meeting the following motion was voted on and passed unanimously:
I move that the GRHS Board of Directors appoint an ad hoc Fund Raising Committee within 3 months from today for the purpose of conducting among its members a capital campaign with a goal of $2,000,000.00 to begin in 2012 or 2013, the proceeds of which to be deposited into the GRHS Endowment Fund.

The GRHS Fundraising Committee was appointed and developed a long-range plan to conduct this fundraiser.

You are being asked to translate your passion for your Germans from Russia ancestry and heritage into dollars - many dollars. Why, you may be asking yourself? The answer is simple: To ensure that GRHS will be around for generations and generations to come.

We are good people. We come from good stock. We pay our taxes. We obey the laws of the land. We descend from immigrants searching for a better life for their families. We respect our neighbors, and help them when they need help. We are caring. We are a charitable people. We vote. We follow our spiritual hearts. We persevere. We honor our parents and our grandparents. We attend funerals with sympathy in our hearts. We know our cousins. We are honest. We are dependable. Our word is our bond. We drive the speed limit. We like basic foods cooked simply and served family style. We pay our bills. We support causes which help others. We keep our yards neat and clean. We are stubborn [Some say we are not stubborn, just right!]. We are stoic. We love our families. We are "tight" with our money…..except when serious needs arise, then we are generous to a fault. We save, for now and for the future. We teach these things to our children. We are reflections of our ancestors who were all of the above.

As you know, with the passing of time, Germans from Russia descendants marry people from other ethnic groups. This can translate into less and less interest in the Germans from Russia ancestry and heritage which means so much to us, and meant so very much to our immediate ancestors. This can thus translate into fewer and fewer members for GRHS. The passion we have for the preservation of our history quite likely will not be as strong in the next generations as it is for us. This, no doubt, can, and dare we say, will mean less dollars on which GRHS can operate and function as we know it. To offset this predictable and forseeable decline in income GRHS will experience as time passes and the numbers of very passionate people decline, we must gather $2 million and put it into savings. This will go a long way toward guaranteeing the financial future of GRHS. We want you to step forward now with your dollars to help achieve the goal of this fundraer - $2,000,000.00.

We know many of you give to GRHS in ways other than dollars. You volunteer your time and expertise, all at no cost to GRHS. For your kind help and hard work, GRHS and our posterity are eternally grateful. However, we are asking you to now also give of your dollars to guarantee GRHS's financial future.

Why a $2 million goal for this fundraiser? IF, for example, $2,000,000.00 earns 5% interest/earnings, $50,000.00 is available to GRHS to help pay its bills and to viably continue into the future. This $50,000.00 can offset a significant decline in the number of members which will no doubt happen. The GRHS Endowment Fund's principal cannot be touched, except with a vote of members present at the GRHS Annual Meeting. The Board of Directors cannot touch the money in this fund, though a vote of the membership at an annual meeting could direct the Board to use money from it for Society expenses. So, a steady flow of income to GRHS will come from the money in the GRHS Endowment Fund each year.

Presently, each of the over two thousand members pays a $50.00 annual membership fee to be members of GRHS. 2,000+ times $50.00 = $100,000.00+. When we study the GRHS financial statements, we find that with the current 2,000+ members, your Board of Directors even now is talking about ways of having to reduce services to members, and not ask for an increase of annual and life membership fees at the same time. The $100,000.00+ just aren't enough dollars to keep GRHS going as we know it.

Yes, GRHS does get income from other sources than membership fees. These sources are 1) book and AV sales, 2) gifts, and 3) interest/earnings on investments. Your Board of Directors knows that this additional income is unpredictable and not enough to offset the loss of income when the membership numbers drop below the current 2,000+ level, as they certainly will. These uncertainties demand a sufficiently large fund that cannot be touched, except in rare instances, a fund whose interest/earnings only is/are used each year to keep GRHS solvent, namely, the GRHS Endowment Fund.

IF each GRHS member gave $100.00 a year for 10 years using the pledge program for this fundraiser, at the end of that time, the Society would have over $2,000,000.00 in its Endowment Fund. Just think of that! Each member gifting $100.00 A YEAR FOR TEN YEARS! We feel that this is doable and should not put a strain on one's budget. Let's show "them there politicians" that we German Russian descendants can be passionate, too. We are more than willing to put our money where our passion is and for a far greater and more passionate cause - to preserve our history and heritage in perpetuity. Our passion drives our love for our roots and our ancestors.

In the past, misunderstandings, personality conflicts, disagreements, and the like have created hard feelings amongst some members. This seems to invariably happen within organizations. We German Russians don't lack in the "I'm-right-you're-wrong department". We are asking that these feelings to be set aside ….. all for the greater good - the preservation of our Society as we know it. For this greater good, let us all work together in peace to guarantee GRHS' future.

To show that our hearts are in the right place, 98% of your Board of Directors and 100% of the GRHS Ad Hoc Fundraising Committee have gifted to this fundraiser. Further, 100% of the members of the Board of Directors of Heritage Foundation for Germans from Russia have gifted to this fundraiser.

"If them politicians can do it, we can do it and then some!"

GRHS Fundraising Committee Members

Co-Chairmen:       Hal Habermann and Ted J. Becker
Karen Retzlaff
Bob Schauer
Vern Mathern
Bert Mayer
Walter Rehling - Consultant
Milton Kramer - Consultant
Valerie Ingram - President of GRHS
Rachel Schmidt - Advisor

Disclaimer:  This Fundraising Campaign does not supercede or replace any smaller fund drives other GRHS committees may conduct.