2017 U.S. Venture Open raises $3.9 million for local poverty initiatives


On August 9, 2017, more than 865 golfers joined local volunteers and special guests at six regional golf courses to raise money in the U.S. Venture Open. The annual event is the nation’s single largest one-day charitable event dedicated to fighting the root causes of poverty. This is the 32nd annual U.S. Venture Open and in three decades the event has raised more than $33 million with more than $18.3 million granted to nonprofits in Northeast Wisconsin. This year, officials from the U.S. Venture Open confirm the one-day charity event raised $3,966,133 million.

This year’s celebrity keynote speaker was current Chicago Bulls player and three-time NBA Champion Dwyane Wade. One of the most decorated players in Marquette University history, Wade is an Olympic gold medalist, 12-time NBA All-Star, NBA Finals MVP and is a proud husband and father. Most notably, Wade overcame a challenging childhood in south Chicago to reach the top of the basketball world.

Wade established the Wade’s World Foundation, a nonprofit charity organization dedicated to giving back to at-risk communities of Chicago, Milwaukee, and the South Florida region through a variety of community outreach programs. His foundation provides opportunities that enable children to overcome challenges, excel academically, and reach their maximum potential.

Wade’s charitable work is one reason why organizers of the U.S. Venture Open were excited to have him associated with the annual event. “There is no better example of the potential all children have than Dwyane Wade,” said Greg Vandenberg, director of giving and community engagement for U.S. Venture. “His personal example and the activities of his foundation are directly in line with the U.S. Venture Open’s mission of eliminating the root causes of poverty and creating a brighter future for all residents of northeast Wisconsin.”

The priorities of the charitable effort are:
• Prevent episodic crisis from developing a chronic need.
• Support long-term solutions to move people out of poverty.
• Assist those with limited capacity to maintain a stable and dignified quality of life.
• Broaden impact and increase effectiveness via collaboration.
• POINT regional poverty initiative which began with teaching more than 100 nonprofits continuous process improvement and coordinating services around individuals at risk or in poverty.

Hosting the 865 golfers were the greens at Oneida Golf and Country Club, Green Bay; North Shore Golf Club, Menasha; Mid Vallee Golf Course, DePere; Fox Valley Golf Club, Kaukauna; Butte des Morts Country Club, Appleton; Wander Springs Golf Course, Greenleaf. Following the day of golfing, guests headed to Van Abel’s Supper Club in Hollandtown for a dinner, silent auction, and live auction to raise additional funds. All funds raised 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 nonprofit organizations focused on the root causes of poverty in Northeast Wisconsin.

U.S. Venture, Inc. underwrites all expenses of the event and has done so since the inception. “U.S. Venture is so humbled by the generosity and trust of our partners to join us in the fight to end poverty. We also recognize all the team members within U.S. Venture whose hard work every day allows us to pay all expenses of this important event,” said John Schmidt, President of U.S. Venture, Inc.

The U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs is administered by each of the three major community foundations in the region and, according to foundation leaders, has changed the face of poverty in the region. “The focus on collaborative efforts and now continuous improvement addresses individual clients and families to make lasting differences in their lives,” said Curt Detjen, President & CEO of the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. “Big improvements have been made for mental health and homelessness, yet we realize there is so much yet remaining to address,” he said.

“Tackling root causes of poverty and addressing the basic needs of our community through strong collaborative partnerships, while making smart investments to advance important work such as mental health support for our youth to job placement and literacy skills, is critical to the vibrancy of our region,” said Dennis Buehler, President & CEO of the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation.

According to President & CEO of the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation Bill Wyman, “Programs like Hub, which focuses on wrapping services around people in need to help them get ahead, and Rise Up, which supports improving mental health and wellness for youth within our schools, are just two of the collaborative partnerships that are making a difference in our community.”

For more information, visit The U.S. Venture Open.

Photos courtesy of U.S. Venture Open



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Justin R. Mitchell

Justin is the founding editor of the Oshkosh Independent.

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