Even without its traditional golf outing and celebration dinner at Van Abel’s in Hollandtown, the U.S. Venture Open raised $4,420,455 through partner donations, an all-day media-thon and online auction.
Due to the pandemic, the U.S. Venture Open switched up its usual offerings, taking its fundraising virtual with the goal of not only raising money, but also educating, activating and inspiring individuals to donate. In its 35 years, the event has raised more than $51 million to help those in need from Green Bay to Oshkosh.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled with the outpouring of support we received from our dedicated partners who come back year after year, and also the individuals who felt the call to contribute for the first time this year,” said John Schmidt, president and CEO of U.S. Venture. “We knew this year would be challenging, but given the circumstances we find ourselves in, we felt compelled to set a high fundraising bar.”
Schmidt added COVID-19 continues to create instability and uncertainty throughout Northeast Wisconsin and the funds raised will help support “the nonprofit leaders and organizations who go above and beyond to meet the growing needs of our communities.”
The U.S. Venture Open partnered with WBAY-TV and Woodward Radio Group to help get its message out.
“We would not have been able to do this without the general public stepping up in a big way, largely due to the unprecedented support of local media … In the current climate, media tends to be viewed critically or politically, but WBAY and Woodward stepped up and showed how important and caring our local media is to our community. They are changing the narrative,” said Greg Vandenberg, director of giving and community engagement for U.S. Venture.
Matching grants from regional partners are key to sustaining the work of the funding behind the U.S. Venture Open — the Basic Needs Giving Partnership. The J. J. Keller Foundation contributed $800,000 in matching funds, and other lead grant partners included Oshkosh Corp. at $250,000, and ThedaCare and the Thrivent Foundation at $200,000 each. With U.S. Venture’s added $800,000 donation, the grant matching increased to $2.25 million, effectively matching every dollar donated through the U.S. Venture Open in 2020.