OREGON, Wis. – It’s been eight years since Mike and Jessica McCarthy first made the decision to partner with American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison.
Each time the Packers head coach and his wife step foot in the facility, it’s a reminder they made the right choice.
“As soon as you walk in the door,” McCarthy said. “The impression the hospital gives to not only myself, but the children when they come in there – it’s a great identification of the culture and the care that you get.”
With that motivation guiding their charitable actions, the McCarthys kicked off the eighth annual Mike and Jessica McCarthy Golf Invitational at The Legend at Bergamont Golf Course on Monday morning with proceeds benefitting American Family Children’s Hospital and the McCarthy Family Foundation.
Although McCarthy doesn’t pride himself on his own golf game – he admittedly doesn’t get out on the course very often – he takes great satisfaction in the more than $2 million the event has raised since it first teed off in 2010.
The invitational pairs each foursome with a Packers celebrity, with more than 30 coaches and former players participating, including Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Dave Robinson and legendary guard Jerry Kramer.
Proceeds from the event support the mission of American Family Children’s Hospital to provide the best care for every patient and family who walks through its doors.
The hospital, which opened the doors at its current facility in 2007, serves infants through teenagers with specialized access to a network of approximately 220 pediatric physicians and surgeons.
“It’s a privilege to be involved and walk into the neonatal center there and know you’re a part of that,” McCarthy said. “The inspiration comes from seeing the children and seeing the care they’re getting. Really, they’re getting that second chance.”
The McCarthys’ two-day event began Sunday night with a reception at the Monona Terrace Conference and Convention Center, which included dinner, a live and silent auction and program featuring Coach McCarthy.
At the beginning, McCarthy wasn’t familiar with how to develop and build a charity, but he was spurred into action after a family friend directed him and his wife to American Family Children’s Hospital’s efforts.
“I can’t say enough about the whole staff there and the way they take care of the kids and the families,” McCarthy said. “But every year we’ve taken the same approach on how we can get better next year. It’s just been awesome to watch it grow.”
Amidst the festivities Sunday night, the Pittsburgh native managed to squeeze in time to watch his hometown Penguins win their second consecutive Stanley Cup with a 2-0 win over the Nashville Predators, before hitting the links Monday.
Several members of McCarthy’s coaching staff possessing a wide range of golfing acumen joined him on the trip to Madison.
“I’m just trying to help them get ready for the summer,” McCarthy joked. “We have some golfers on the staff. It’s a lot of fun to be able to get out here and play golf. As this tournament has grown, we have a lot of regulars who have come back. You can see the relationships they have with a lot of our coaches, too – former players. It’s great to see everybody.”
The invitational concludes Monday evening with a dinner reception and awards ceremony. Afterward, McCarthy will return to Green Bay to wrap up the Packers’ offseason program.
The Packers will be back on the practice field Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. CT for the first of three minicamp practices before dismissing for the next five weeks.
“Anytime you’re on a golf course, it’s a good day,” McCarthy said. “It’s always fun to come to Madison. This is a great city. There’s so much to offer. To be a part of American Family Children’s Hospital, our family feels very blessed.”