Meet Staff Member: Russ Graunke

russ_graunke_colorRuss has been active in the church community since he was a child. He recalls sitting in with his parents as founding members of a church that once met in basements and eventually became a successful, thriving church. A church lay-leader since he was in his 20’s, Russ has been blessed to see the work of the church from a variety of perspectives and from several denominations – as a Lutheran, a Presbyterian, and a Congregationalist.

Russ has played a part in assisting his current church in creating a welcoming climate, achieving growth in numbers and discipleship, and becoming a leading congregation in mission, ministry, and stewardship within the United Church of Christ denomination. Russ has served the denomination on a regional level as a member of both The Committee on The Ministry and The Committee on The Church.

Russ began his professional career in the direct marketing world. He was intricately involved in helping clients reach their marketing objectives and sales goals. As President and CEO of a marketing communications firm that he founded, Russ developed strategies and marketing plans that allowed financial services companies and not-for-profit organizations exceed their expectations. Some of his not-for profit clients have included American Cancer Society, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Make-A-Wish Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, Prevent Child Abuse America, and Lambs Farm.

Russ has also served on the boards of several local and regional not-for-profit organizations, including GlenOaks Hospital Foundation, Spectrios Institute for Low Vision, Promise of DuPage, and CASA of DuPage County.

Russ answered the call to combine his passions for helping churches thrive, incorporating solid strategic planning, and creating successful stewardship and fundraising efforts. Russ brings a unique and valuable perspective and set of skills to church campaign consulting.

Russ is married with two grown children and lives in Glen Ellyn, IL and can be found singing in the choir most Sundays.