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U.S. Venture Golf Open breaks records to end poverty

More than 1,260 attendees raised $5.13 million at the U. S. Venture Open, the nation’s single largest one-day charitable event dedicated to ending poverty along with guest of honor Matthew McConaughey. At the end of the event, organizers announced a $925,000 gift to the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region from the estate of the late David A. Thiede. Thiede, a Menasha resident who passed away in November of 2017 at the age of 70, had attended the U.S. Venture Open and believed in the work of the Basic Needs Giving Partnership within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J.J. Keller Foundation, Inc. and other community partners. This is the largest single gift in U.S. Venture Open history and the first bequest for this event.

Community Foundation staffers were among the 1,295 at Van Abel’s in Hollandtown last light to celebrate the event.

The 34th annual U.S. Venture Open has raised more than $46,330,848 over three decades with more than $3.75 million in new grant commitments and multi-year grants to nonprofits throughout Northeast Wisconsin last year. Grants impacted 200 organizations in the Green Bay, Fox Valley and Oshkosh regions.

This year, the Oscar-winning actor, producer, and philanthropist Matthew McConaughey shared his giving philosophy with the crowd at Van Abel’s of Hollandtown to cap off the day of golfing. McConaughey is most recognized for his iconic film roles, but he and his wife Camila founded the just keep livin (jkl) Foundation to empower high school students by providing them the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices for a better future. McConaughey’s foundation encourages students to make positive life choices that improve their physical and mental health through exercise, teamwork, gratitude, nutrition, and community service.

“The impact of more than three decades of giving is having a transformative affect across Northeast Wisconsin,” said Greg Vandenberg, director of giving and community engagement for U.S. Venture. “Today, non-profits are innovating and collaborating to create and scale programs that heal, educate, train, and support the most vulnerable individuals and families in our communities. Taking on new approaches and ideas in this work requires passion, dedication and courage, and we are seeing results.”

“We’re grateful for the generous support and partnership with the U.S. Venture Open. Their commitment to eradicating poverty is truly inspiring and we’re honored to join them in the important work of improving the lives of our youth,” said Shannon Rotenberg, Executive Director of the just keep livin Foundation.

Regional partners are key to sustaining the work of the Basic Needs Giving Partnership. The J. J. Keller Foundation established a legacy of offering matching funds for grant making. Their $800,000 grant-making investment has been joined by lead grant partners, including Oshkosh Corporation at $250,000, ThedaCare at $200,000, and Thrivent at $200,000. This brings the grant matching to $1.65 million, effectively matching every dollar donated through the golf outing.

The strategies of this charitable effort support long-term solutions to move people out of poverty in four key areas:

  • Education
  • Economic Sustainability
  • Physical and Mental Wellness
  • Social Connectedness

The U.S. Venture Open is the nation’s single largest one-day charitable event dedicated to ending poverty. It’s held at several regional golf courses: Oneida Golf and Country Club, Green Bay; North Shore Golf Club, Menasha; Thornberry Creek, Oneida, Oneida; Fox Valley Golf Club, Kaukauna; Butte des Morts Country Club, Appleton; Wander Springs Golf Course, Greenleaf.

U.S. Venture underwrites all costs of the event and has done so since the inception. Funds from the event are held within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation, with grants made to collaborating non-profit organizations in Northeast Wisconsin.

The event started in 1986 with 100 golfers and has grown to 1,260 attendees representing more than 500 partners who golf at regional courses to raise money for programs that help end poverty. The just keep livin Foundation implements after school fitness programs in 37 inner city high schools. Programs encourage students to make positive life choices that improve their physical and mental health through exercise, teamwork, gratitude, nutrition, and community service.

Here are some more photos. Click on the arrows to advance the images:

USV 6 USV 5 USV 4 USV 2 USV Van Abels USV staff
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The Basic Needs Giving Partnership is supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs within the Community Foundation, the J.J. Keller Foundation, Inc., and other community partners. Learn more here.

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