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2019 U.S. Venture Open breaks all records


Largest one-day event dedicated to ending poverty

2019 U.S. Venture Open breaks all records

(APPLETON, WI) — August 14, 2019 — More than 1,260 attendees raised $5.2 million at the U. S. Venture Open, the nation’s single largest one-day charitable event dedicated to ending poverty along with guest of honor Matthew McConaughey. At the end of the event, organizers announced a $925,000 gift to the charity from the David A. Thiede estate. Thiede, a Menasha resident who passed away in November of 2017 at the age of 70, had attended the U.S. Venture Open and believed in the work of the Basic Needs Giving Partnership. This is the largest single gift in U.S. Venture Open history and the first bequest for this event.

The 34th annual U.S. Venture Open has raised more than $46 million over three decades with more than $3.75 million in new grant commitments and multi-year grants to nonprofits throughout Northeast Wisconsin last year. Grants impacted 200 organizations in the Green Bay, Fox Valley and Oshkosh regions.

This year, the Oscar-winning actor, producer, and philanthropist Matthew McConaughey shared his giving philosophy with the crowd at Van Abel’s of Hollandtown to cap off the day of golfing. McConaughey is most recognized for his iconic film roles, but he and his wife Camila founded the just keep livin (jkl) Foundation to empower high school students by providing them the tools to lead active lives and make healthy choices for a better future. McConaughey’s foundation encourages students to make positive life choices that improve their physical and mental health through exercise, teamwork, gratitude, nutrition, and community service.

“The impact of more than three decades of giving is having a transformative affect across Northeast Wisconsin,” said Greg Vandenberg, director of giving and community engagement for U.S. Venture. “Today, non-profits are innovating and collaborating to create and scale programs that heal, educate, train, and support the most vulnerable individuals and families in our communities. Taking on new approaches and ideas in this work requires passion, dedication and courage, and we are seeing results.”

“We’re grateful for the generous support and partnership with the U.S. Venture Open. Their commitment to eradicating poverty is truly inspiring and we’re honored to join them in the important work of improving the lives of our youth,” said Shannon Rotenberg, Executive Director of the just keep livin Foundation.  

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 lead grant partners, including Oshkosh Corporation at $250,000, ThedaCare at $200,000, and Thrivent at $200,000. This brings the grant matching to $1.65 million, effectively matching every dollar donated through the golf outing. 

The strategies of this charitable effort support long-term solutions to move people out of poverty in four key areas:

  • Education
  • Economic Sustainability
  • Physical and Mental Wellness
  • Social Connectedness


About the U.S. Venture Open

The U.S. Venture Open is the nation’s single largest one-day charitable event dedicated to ending poverty. It’s held at several regional golf courses: Oneida Golf and Country Club, Green Bay; North Shore Golf Club, Menasha; Thornberry Creek, Oneida, Oneida; Fox Valley Golf Club, Kaukauna; Butte des Morts Country Club, Appleton; Wander Springs Golf Course, Greenleaf. Matthew McConaughey is scheduled to appear and speak at the dinner reception for all registered guests, held at Van Abel’s of Hollandtown.

U.S. Venture underwrites all costs of the event and has done so since the inception. Funds 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 non-profit organizations in Northeast Wisconsin.

The event started in 1986 with 100 golfers and has grown to 1,260 attendees representing more than 500 partners who golf at regional courses to raise money for programs that help end poverty. Follow the event on Facebook, Twitter, or visit the U.S. Venture Open website.


About U.S. Venture, Inc.

For more than 65 years, U.S. Venture, Inc. has been recognized as an innovative leader in the distribution of petroleum and renewable energy products, lubricants, and tires and parts for the automotive aftermarket. Guided by its company vision, “To be the very best value-adding distributor of products that vehicles consume in North America,” they deliver unconventional, creative solutions that give their customers a competitive edge. Headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin, the company’s business divisions are U.S. Oil, U.S. AutoForce®, U.S. Lubricants and U.S. Gain.


About just keep livin Foundation 

The just keep livin Foundation implements after school fitness programs in 37 inner city high schools. Programs encourage students to make positive life choices that improve their physical and mental health through exercise, teamwork, gratitude, nutrition, and community service. Participating students have a safe place to enhance their lives with fitness coaches and health experts. The results have been incredible. Participants get in shape and gain confidence while also improving their grades, attendance and behavior. Friendships are built and fears are overcome. At our j.k. livin after school programs, kids learn self-reliance and get a healthy start today, so they can make a better tomorrow.


About David A. Thiede

David A. Thiede, passed away on Sunday, November 19, 2017 at the age of 70. He was born in Neenah and graduated from St. Mary High School in 1967. He enlisted in the US Army in 1969 and was deployed to Vietnam where he proudly served his country until his honorable discharge in 1970. David worked for Miller Electric for 33 years until his retirement, at that time he served as the chaplain for the VFW Post 2126. He was a volunteer for St. Mary Menasha Catholic Parish and established a legacy of philanthropy. After attending the U.S. Venture Open, he expressed a desire to support the mission with a gift. “He had a lot of confidence and trust in the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs to optimize what he wanted to do with his gift,” said Thiede’s financial advisor, David Watters, of Watters Financial Group.  


Contact Information:
Dawn Ruchala

Manager, U.S. Venture Open

[email protected] 



Mary Schmidt

[email protected]