Skip To Content
Mobile Nav Toggle


« Newsroom Home

U.S. Venture Open Raises Nearly $30 Million Over 30 Years


Charity event nets $3.57 million in one day

Appleton, Wis., – August 12, 2015 – Raising millions of dollars in one day takes a combination of planning, people and persistence. On August 12, with support from guest of honor Bo Ryan and corporate, family and foundation partners, 900 golfers teed up on six area golf courses in a collaborative effort to raise money to help fight poverty in Northeast Wisconsin.

This year’s U.S. Venture Open and its generous supporters raised a total of $3,570,408. Throughout its 30-year history, the high-profile event has raised nearly $30 million and has generated $16.9 million in grants awarded through the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs. As the host of the U.S. Venture Open, U.S. Venture, Inc. pays for all the expenses of the event.

“This event has grown remarkably over the last 30 years,” said John Schmidt, President/CEO of U.S. Venture. “It’s a great opportunity for us to make a significant contribution to our local communities in the fight to end poverty in Northeastern Wisconsin. I thank all of our partners for their overwhelming support.”

The first U.S. Venture Open launched in 1986 was under the direction of Bill Schmidt, Chairman Emeritus of U.S. Oil Co. – today known as U.S. Venture, Inc. The event started out with a small staff of volunteers and 100 golfers. “This event is just the tip of the spear for raising dollars and partnering with hundreds of corporations, foundations, individuals and nonprofits who work tirelessly to break poverty at its roots,” said Greg Vandenberg, director of giving and community engagement.

All funds raised through the U.S. Venture Open go to the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.

The U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs has paved the way for collaboration between funders and nonprofit organizations passionate about fighting poverty in Northeast Wisconsin – including a unique partnership with the J. J. Keller Foundation. The J. J. Keller Foundation has donated $800,000 in matching funds to the annual grantmaking budget of the Fund. Since 2007, J.J. Keller Foundation has contributed $5.9 million to this root-cause effort. This year the ThedaCare and the Rhoades Foundation joined with J. J. Keller to donate $200,000 each to the matching grant fund.

In the 2015 fiscal year, new grant commitments of $3 million were made to 164 organizations in the Greater Green Bay, Fox Valley and Oshkosh areas for 28 new grants and continued funding for 27 multi-year grants. Grants are awarded to projects equipping individuals and families to break the cycle of poverty.