, ,

Northeastern Wisconsin Golf Tournament Helps To Fight Poverty

Sponsors Distributed More Than $5.5M In Grants To Area Social Services

Two caddies carrying golf bags at the U.S. Open.
Chuck Quirmbach/WPR

Each August the U.S. Venture Open takes over six golf courses around northeastern Wisconsin for a charity event to raise money for nonprofits across the state.

All proceeds from the event go to community foundations dedicated to eliminating poverty in their communities. Just this year, the Community Foundation For The Fox Valley Region Inc. was granted $3.5 million; the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation was granted $1.02 million; and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation was granted $1.04 million.

In turn, the foundations will make grants amounting to $3.96 million to 163 local social service nonprofits in a 17-county area. Money that is not used for direct grants will be held in reserve in interest-bearing accounts for the foundations.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

U.S. Venture is an oil distribution company based in Appleton. Other major corporations in northeastern Wisconsin offer to match money the company runs through its golf tournament to fund the “Basic Needs Giving Partnership.”

Greg Vandenberg is U.S. Venture’s director of giving and community engagement. Speaking at a community report session last week in Green Bay he said the goal of the program is to address the root causes of poverty in the region.

“Sometimes those of us who haven’t experienced poverty don’t know that it is a highly complex and highly individualized situation,” Vandenberg said.

Groups that have received grants work on things like education, housing and employment. Others are focused on more sensitive areas such as sexual assault, human trafficking, sobriety and connecting people with mental health services.

The Bay Area Workforce Development Board is one community group that recently received an $100,000 grant, marking the third annual grant it has received through the partnership.

Matt Valiquette is the program operations manager for the Bay Area Workforce Development Board. He said the nonprofit has pointed to the grants and leveraged them when applying for additional money from the state Department of Children and Families to the tune of $400,000 per year.

The Workforce Development Board uses the money to fund the Fostering Youth Independence program that helps young people who are “aging out” of foster care and other at-risk teens and young adults. The program serves 17 counties in northeastern Wisconsin.