Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation helps Operation Fresh Start empower participants to achieve their goals and reach their potential

The PGA TOUR Champions American Family Insurance Championship raised a record $2.4 million in 2023. The Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation continues to make an impact in our communities, distributing more than $17.2 million via grants to 847 charitable organizations since 2016. As we lead up to the 2024 event, we highlight one of the organizations and the important work they do.


In 1970, retired police officer and juvenile detention counselor Jack Osteraas started Operation Fresh Start to provide young men who had dropped out of high school with mentorship and the opportunity to start over. In a 1971 edition of the Wisconsin State Journal, Osteraas explained how the program benefits the city as well as the youth. “These kids,” said Osteraas, “are benefiting a lot more from rebuilding this house than being in any residential treatment center or institution.”


Today, Operation Fresh Start offers their programs to young adults, regardless of gender or background, and since their beginning have empowered more than 9,000 individuals to find a pathway to a life-sustaining career through their nine different programs.


The organization offers programs to meet a variety of needs. Their most popular, Legacy, has been their core program since day one and has evolved over time.


“Our Legacy program focuses on emerging adults, within the 16 to 24-year-old range, because we recognize this is a critical transition period in their lives,” said Greg Miller, outreach specialist at Operation Fresh Start. “Our program helps these individuals finish high school, get their driver’s license, receive paid training and figure out what is next for them.”


In 2023, 93 young adults enrolled in the Legacy program, achieving milestones such as a high school diploma, pre-apprenticeship certificates, OSHA certificates, driver’s licenses and more, to set them up for success. With the help of the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation grant, they will continue to support and enhance the Legacy program.


“This grant will be huge for supporting the young people in this program,” said Brian McMahon, executive director of Operation Fresh Start. “It will go towards our emergency fund, participant stipends, hot meals and more to ensure we are doing everything we can to help them succeed – and we are very grateful for that.”


A long-standing relationship

American Family Insurance and Operation Fresh Start have had a long-standing relationship from the start. Notably, founder Jack Osteraas wrote a public appreciation piece for his original donors in the Wisconsin State Journal that included American Family Insurance. The organization has also received six-plus years of support from the Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation.


Members of the Operation Fresh Start team also volunteer at the American Family Insurance Championship and will again at the 2024 event this June. “We appreciate American Family’s support over the years and love to show that appreciation any way we can,” said Jody Weyers, development director at Operation Fresh Start. “We like to be involved in the American Family Championship because they support us and many other organizations in our community affecting positive change.”




 Operation Fresh Start’s impact

  • Edwin, a Legacy alum and current Build Academy participant, experienced unexpected car issues last year. “[The car] was only running off two cylinders making it unreliable. It was my only way of transportation, going between work [Legacy] and home. My mom was working overnight so she wasn’t home until 8 a.m., and Legacy started at 7:30 a.m., so I thought, ‘oh man, what do I do?’” Edwin said the staff helped him apply for the Emergency Fund which provided him $700 to cover the cost of the repairs. “I never expected someone to cover that. It helped a lot.”
  • “I’m so thankful to be up here today,” said Maria, a Legacy alum. “Throughout my term, while talking to people, I’ve learned that this is just a really supportive space.” Following graduation, Maria is moving on to UW Health where she is joining their Nursing Assistant Training Program.


Learn more

Learn more about Operation Fresh Start and their positive impact on the Madison community by visiting their website.

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Media contacts:
Janet Masters/Amelia Wampler
[email protected]/[email protected]


About Steve Stricker American Family Insurance Foundation
Established in 2013 when Steve Stricker became a brand ambassador for American Family Insurance, the mission of the foundation is to inspire and develop strong families and healthy kids so they can pursue their dreams. The foundation supports organizations that produce tangible outcomes that align with this mission. Web:; X: @StrickerFNDN


About the American Family Insurance Championship
The American Family Insurance Championship was created in 2016 by American Family Insurance, PGA TOUR Champions and PGA player and Wisconsin native Steve Stricker. Since its inception, the championship and associated events have raised more than $17.2 million for the American Family Children’s Hospital and other charities. The 2024 championship will be held June 1-9 at the University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wisconsin with tournament play June 7-9. For more information: Web:; Threads: @amfamchampionship; X: @AmFamChamp; Facebook: American Family Insurance Championship; Instagram: amfamchampionship. #AmFamChamp