New Berlin — When Greg Jennings needs to raise thousands of dollars for one of his favorite causes, Habitat for Humanity, he turns to some of his favorite people - teammates and Green Bay Packers fans.
One by one, Jennings asked his Green Bay Packers teammates to join him for his celebrity golf outing and by the time he was done, more than 40 guys were headed down I-43 to Waukesha Thursday.
"You know what, the thing about the Packers, we're very supportive of one another," said Jennings. "You put it out there and the guys just flock to it. And that's the best part. This doesn't get done if the people don't come out."
Jennings and Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity have set the ambitious goal of raising $60,000 Friday to build a low-income family a home through the third annual celebrity golf classic at the Merrill Hills Country Club, as well as enough money to build a second Habitat home in Kalamazoo, Mich. Overall, the goal is to raise $150,000.
Among the Packers expected to attend: Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Grant, Donald Driver, Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews. Others include the Chicago Bears' Tommie Harris and former Packers Koren Robinson and Javon Walker.
The event requires tickets for fans; as of late Thursday, there were a limited number available at $100 per person; call Merrill Hills for information.
The Packers have several avid golfers.
"I know Aaron is playing pretty well, but so is Mason Crosby," said Jennings. "I hit recreationally. Right now, it's not looking good. I can hit a mile, but I'm not consistent enough to even try to keep a handicap. I'm all over the place, but my best round is an 88."
The golf event, which takes a year to plan, could actually raise so much money Jennings will probably take the proceeds and split them, with about half designated for Habitat for Humanity and the other half bound for his Greg Jennings Foundation.
Karen Higgins, interim executive director of Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity, said the organization hopes to build 30 homes this year. She said a federal grant good for the next three year is expected to add another 100 homes.
Habitat's website states that it builds homes mostly in the Amani, Harambee and Washington Park neighborhoods of Milwaukee, while also rehabilitating condominium units in the Woodlands.
Since Habitat started building homes in Milwaukee in 1984, its group and volunteers have put up more than 400 homes for needy families in Milwaukee. In his two previous charity golf outings, Jennings raised enough money to build two Habitat homes.
"We're even getting it kicked off in Kalamazoo, Mich., now," Jennings said of his hometown. "We'll get our first home in July."
Said Higgins: "Greg and his wife believe a lot in Habitat."
Habitat looks for low-income families in which the potential new home owner has held a job for at least a year, has demonstrated good or improved credit and someone who has never owned a home before. The future occupant of the new Habitat home would also be expected to put sweat equity into the construction of the home, volunteering significant hours throughout the six to nine months it takes to build a Habitat home.
That was one of the things Jennings liked the most. "It's like a give and take," he said.
The partnership between Jennings and Habitat for Humanity began when Jennings' marketing agent, Stacy Jenson, met Greg and his wife, Nicole.
"Greg and Nicole had a great desire to help a community, not a person, but a community," said Jenson. "I instantly thought Habitat. So I cold-called Habitat three years ago and the executive director said she almost fell out of her chair; she couldn't believe she was getting a call from Greg Jennings' agent to say he wants to partner with you. It's been a dream partnership ever since."