Written by: Mary Harp-Jirschele
August 11, 2016
The 31st annual U.S. Venture Open held Wednesday was a steamy one on the golf course and also in terms of fundraising! A record $3.61 million was raised for the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs. J. J. Keller Foundation is the lead partner in the Fund which distributes proceeds from the event to worthy causes fighting poverty in the greater Fox Valley region of Oshkosh, Green Bay and the Fox Valley.
The event is one of the biggest regional charity fundraisers of its kind. Since 1986, $33 million has been raised at the Open, and since 2007, J. J. Keller Foundation has matched $6.7 million in grants awarded by the Basic Needs Giving Partnership.
The day ended with the always-popular chicken-and-perch dinner at Van Abel’s in Hollandtown for more than 1,100 guests. A massive tent was constructed to hold the guests, creating a setting as unique as the event. A well-known guest speaker typically entertains the crowd – past celebrities included Arnold Palmer, Hank Aaron and University of Wisconsin basketball coach Bo Ryan. This year, Donald Driver returned to the stage to interview three Lombardi-era Green Bay Packers: Paul Hornung, Willie Davis and Jerry Kramer. They told great stories of playing with each other and for Vince Lombardi in the Glory Years with the Packers.
Congratulations to the U.S. Venture “family” for an incredible event. The Schmidt family can be very proud of its contributions to our community through the U.S. Venture Open and the Basic Needs Giving Partnership. The J. J. Keller Foundation is proud to be the presenting lead partner.