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U.S. Venture Open announces Media-thon, online fundraiser in lieu of golf outing

Golfers watch as a ball rolls for the hole at the US Venture Open (WBAY photo)
Golfers watch as a ball rolls for the hole at the US Venture Open (WBAY photo)(WBAY)
Published: Jun. 18, 2020 at 10:53 AM CDT
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The 2020 U.S. Venture Open is taking a different course for raising money for charity during the coronavirus pandemic.

For three decades, the U.S. Venture Open has been held at several golf courses in the region followed by a dinner at Van Abel's of Hollandtown.

Due to the pandemic, the golf open and dinner will not be held in 2020. Instead, USVO will have an online fundraiser, online auction and Media-thon in partnership with WBAY-TV and Woodward Radio Group.

"We know the influence, the listenership, and viewership that they carry and we're really humbled that they've agreed to partner with us and we really believe that this is something the U.S. Venture Open is going to raise awareness for people in the Fox Valley region around what poverty looks like here because I think it often is invisible or it's driven underground a little bit. So we're really excited to be able to raise awareness of what poverty looks like," says Greg Vandenberg, Director of Giving & Community Engagement for U.S. Venture.

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The Media-thon will be held Wednesday, August 12. Details are pending.

The U.S. Venture Open is the nation's largest one-day charitable event for ending poverty.

In 2019, the U.S. Venture Open raised $4.3 million added to a gift of $925,000 from the David A. Thiede estate. That was a record-breaking $5.2 million raised in one day.

This year's goal is to raise $4.5 million. Matching grants from regional partners are key to sustaining the work of the Basic Needs Giving Partnership. The J. J. Keller Foundation established a legacy of offering matching funds for grant making. Their $800,000 grant-making investment has been joined by other lead grant partners, including Oshkosh Corporation at $250,000, ThedaCare at $200,000, and the Thrivent Foundation at $200,000.

"It's more than an event. This is what we do. We support vulnerable audiences in our communities and the non-profits that support them and so now more than ever they need our support," says Heidi Dusek about the J.J. Keller Foundation's $800,000 grant.

Hundreds of nonprofits benefit from the money raised by the U.S. Venture Open.

“We remain committed to our mission of ending poverty because now more than ever, our community needs our help navigating a pandemic world,” said John Schmidt, CEO of U.S. Venture. “This event is more than a golf game, it’s a strategic and collaborative approach to helping people in our communities move out of crisis.”

The need is great this year as people impacted by unemployment and the coronavirus shut downs struggle to make ends meet.

“The demand has increased exponentially. In the initial weeks of the pandemic we saw a 125% increase in demand for charitable food. We are now sustaining a 67% increase. We anticipate distributing over 20 million more pounds of food than the previous year," said Patti Habeck, CEO of Feeding America.

By opening the event to everyone, organizers are hoping more people in the community understand the need and fell compelled to take action.

Greg Vandenberg adds, "This gives us that platform to be able to reach so many community members that haven't heard about the US Venture Open, don't understand the work as far as wanting to end poverty, and really that collaboration that occurs between funding partners, the three community foundations, and the non-profits themselves."

In its history, the U.S. Venture Open has more than $46 million in the fight against poverty.

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