The U.S. Venture Open — the largest one-day philanthropy event in the country devoted to fighting poverty — returns Aug. 8 to Northeast Wisconsin.
Since the outing started 32 years ago, the U.S. Venture Open has raised more than $37 million and made $24 million in grants to end poverty in Northeast Wisconsin through the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs. The fund makes grants in collaboration with the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation and the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation.
“It’s so much more than a golf outing,” says U.S. Venture Open Manager Dawn Ruchala, adding that 100 percent of the money raised this year will go directly into the community rather than placing a small portion in the fund’s endowment as in years past. “All the dollars that are donated will be distributed in fiscal year 2019 and matched by the Basic Needs Fund.”
To make the event possible, the U.S. Venture Open relies on 225 volunteers, 500 business and community partners, 900 golfers, 1,100 attendees and six area golf courses. (To accommodate more golfers, Thornberry Creek in Oneida was added to the golf course lineup this year.)
In addition to the fun on the links, the event brings in a featured speaker for a dinner and program at Van Abel’s in Hollandtown.
Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time with 28 medals, including 23 gold medals, will talk about the Michael Phelps Foundation, which teaches water safety to children through Boys and Girls Clubs across the country.
In a message announcing his involvement with this year’s event, the retired swimmer said, “I believe in giving all kids a level playing field in order to develop their individual talents. I’m excited to participate in the U.S. Venture Open because the programs they fund provide so many kids and adults the opportunity to succeed despite their circumstances.”
Support from area businesses is integral to the event’s success. Oshkosh Corp., for example, has five teams playing in this year’s outing and signed up as an event sponsor.
“We believe that, as a big company, we have a big responsibility to help those in need,” says Oshkosh Corp. CEO Wilson Jones, adding that the manufacturer’s Poverty Outcome Improvement Network Teams (POINT) initiative works with local 501(c)(3) organizations helping to end poverty. “At the end of the night, you just have to shake your head in amazement that we raised over $3 million. It does a lot to know people are there who care for the community, and they show it in a big way that night.”
The money raised from the event goes toward about 100 collaborating nonprofits in the mental health, financial, substance abuse, job training, housing, food security, education and literacy, community health, elder care, mentoring, community resource center and sex trafficking sectors.
The U.S. Venture Open is so large that it takes six golf courses working together to host everyone. Participating golf courses include Fox Valley Golf Club in Kaukauna, Thornberry Creek at Oneida in Oneida, North Shore Golf Club in Menasha, Oneida Golf and Country Club in Green Bay, Wander Springs Golf Course in Greenleaf and Butte des Morts Country Club in Appleton.
For more on the Aug. 8 event, visit www.usventureopen.com