John is the founder and host of the annual Fellowship Open, whose principal objective is to work with and support organizations that have a meaningful and demonstrable difference in the lives of youngsters. In the dozen years that the Fellowship Open has been in existence, it has highlighted and contributed to many dozens of organizations that are achieving that impact.
Each year, the Fellowship Open selects an individual to honor in the community, who has a long history of working with youth, has impeccable character, and who symbolizes the faces of the Fellowship Open. Recent honorees include former Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl, sports hall of famers Henry Aaron and Willie Davis, Johnson Control Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of Community Affairs Charles Harvey, and basketball legend Wayne Embry.
Consisting of not only a celebrity golf tournament, dinner, and silent auction but various programs that bring together business-professional role models and local children, the activities that the Fellowship Open has supported have affected literally thousands of youngsters in Milwaukee, in all aspects of their development, including the arts, technology, job skills, and job readiness. Each year, a group of youngsters are invited to participate at the event and meet with the honorary chairs. In addition, a number of students are provided personal computers for their use and development.
The emphasis on technology is an important aspect of the mission of the Fellowship Open. The Fellowship Open has worked with the HR Boys & Girls Club project, with youngsters between 13 and 17, and actually had those youngsters develop the Fellowship Open website. All of the youngsters who are involved are also given the opportunity to participate in a “soft skills” project, which provides them with knowledge about job interviewing, job training, and effective ways to operate in a work environment.