University of Nebraska Foundation Honors Raikeses with Highest Volunteer Award


Jeff and Tricia Raikes ‘epitome of catalytic philanthropy at work’

Jeff and Tricia Raikes are 2019 recipients of the Perry W. Branch Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service for devoting 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 Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation.

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.

VIDEO: See video tribute to Jeff and Tricia Raikes

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 Ronnie Green, chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. “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.”

The Raikeses were recognized at the University of Nebraska Foundation’s annual meeting of trustees on Oct. 4. Kelly Holthus of York, a 30-year volunteer with the University of Nebraska, was also recognized with conferral of the Branch Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service.