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The unified mission of Wispact and the Wispact Foundation is to improve the quality of lives of persons with disabilities in Wisconsin.

Foundation Newsletter – June 2023


The People We Serve: Jacob & Rosemary’s Story

We are continually reminded that our services support more than our individual beneficiaries, very often our services directly and indirectly support their families as well. It’s the individual stories of the people we serve and their families that motivate, challenge and ultimately reward us for what we do.

To add a voice to the people we serve, here’s a recent interview with the mother of one of our beneficiaries and some of the benefits we are honored to provide them. This is Jacob and his mother, Rosemary’s story.

Like so many others we support, Jacob faced significant challenges that the family has worked tirelessly to overcome. Jacob, a person with Down syndrome, ADHD and was verbally and physically abused by his school bus driver. Fortunately, the family prevailed, justice was served and Jacob received a modest settlement for some of the criminal abuse he had endured.

“Wispact is really important for the future for Jacob, even if I’m not here to be that guardian for him.”

– Rosemary (Jacob’s Mother)

Due to lack of child support from Jacob’s father, Rosemary struggled to make ends meet and the resulting settlement put Jacob’s ongoing Social Security benefit in jeopardy. Fortunately, the family received advice to consider a special need’s trust and with the help of Milwaukee attorney, Rock Pledl, the family was able to secure a Wispact Trust which protected Jacob’s Social Security benefits.

Maintaining Jacob’s Social Security benefits have provided support for the family in numerous ways. According to Rosemary, “It’s the things that you might not expect in your life that come up that make us so grateful that his [Jacob’s] Social Security is still intact. The Wispact trust has allowed us to afford things I wouldn’t have been able to save for. Plus, for us to live in the same house and maintain our lifestyle was very important to provide Jacob a stable home so he doesn’t have to be apprehensive about what’s going to happen tomorrow. And that’s because we have his Social Security every month. Wispact really was a lifesaver for us.”

Wispact’s support has empowered Rosemary and Jacob to maintain a close relationship with distant family. “Jacob loves our family very much because they love him. And to be able to see them in California is just wonderful. We use his Wispact funds for airfare to go out to California usually once a year and we stay usually a couple of months,” Rosemary said.

In addition to Down Syndrome and ADHD, Jacob also suffers from PTSD from the abuse he suffered while in school. Aside from living and travel expenses, Rosemary credits Wispact for allowing Jacob to enjoy music which he truly loves.

“The way I look at it, he deserves to enjoy life in the best way possible and to have things I wouldn’t be able to get for him without his Wispact account. It’s special for me to take him to a concert or musical and watch him enjoy it so much. We recently saw a Broadway production of Frozen. It just brings him joy and happiness, and I think he deserves every minute of it,” Rosemary added.

Regarding Wispact staff, Rosemary said,  “I’ve only had two issues and I called and they were corrected quickly. We have a great relationship with Amy Voss, our beneficiary specialist, she has been very easy to work with and we just sent her a picture of Jacob at a recent concert we attended.”

When asked what she would tell another family about Wispact, Rosemary said, “I would tell them that this is the safest way to preserve your funds and still get your Social Security. The funds are available to you whenever you need them, and the turnaround time to get your reimbursement is fast. I don’t know of another method of saving your Social Security except through a state fund like this. And it’s not difficult at all to enroll and then secure your reimbursements as they come up.”

“Wispact is really important for the future for Jacob, even if I’m not here to be that guardian for him,” Rosemary concluded.


Upcoming Grant Submission Due Date – August 11

Applications for upcoming 2024 grant cycle are due in August 2023. The deadline for proposal submittal is August 11, 2023​. You may submit your proposal by email (, by hand delivery, or by regular mail. If by hand or regular mail, please submit the proposal by the deadline.

For more information about applying for a grant:


Attorney Feature, Elizabeth Heiner

In each issue of this newsletter we feature an attorney to better understand their perspective on Wispact and our work together to support those with disabilities across Wisconsin.

Attorney Elizabeth Heiner, from Boardman & Clark, LLP, focuses her practice on estate planning for individuals and families. Practicing in the area since 1992, Liz has extensive experience advising clients about wills, trusts, powers of attorney, prenuptial agreements and other wealth transfer and tax savings techniques.

“I was very fortunate to get to work with them, they truly are wonderful professionals.”

Attorney Elizabeth Heiner
Boardman & Clark, LLP,
Madison, WI 

Heiner reports Wispact provides support for her clients looking to leave money to a relative with special needs. In these instances, Heiner routinely turns to Wispact because “Wispact knows the rules about special needs trusts, they’re knowledgeable and they take the time to understand who they’re working with, and they have good protocols set in place. They are also able to step in for people that can’t afford the setup cost for a trust,” Heiner said.

A common challenge Heiner encounters is when a family member is designated as a trustee. The challenge according to Heiner’s is, “They tend to be setting up that family member for problems because there’s no way for that the family member to be current at understanding what the rules are.” Plus, Heiner reports there are challenges within the family when siblings do not agree on the use of the trust. “Wispact is there to act in the person’s [beneficiaries] best interest. There’s just more protection for the family,” Heiner added.

When clients have limited resources, Wispact’s ability to cover the trust creation fees has been a significant benefit and according to Heiner, “Wispact has proven very supportive in many situations because a lot of my clients can’t afford the minimum trustees fees if they were to use a third-party trustee. From my standpoint, they’ve been wonderful to work with, and they do have the funds available that can help individuals who might not be able to afford a trust on their own.”

Looking back before Wispact was available, “We had a community without Wispact for a long time. Individuals relying on public benefits who were inheriting a small sum would be disqualified from receiving public benefits. So, Wispact is a way for the beneficiaries to retain the money in a special needs trust and maintain their benefits. It’s been a huge public service to have Wispact in the community to take care of people in that situation,” Heiner said.

“We’re very fortunate to have them in our state and I was very fortunate to get to work with them, they truly are wonderful professionals” Heiner concluded.

In each issue of this newsletter, we feature an attorney specializing in helping their clients though pooled trusts. We will share their experience and relationship with Wispact. If you’d like to be featured, or know an attorney we should feature, please reach out to us.



Legacy Grant Recipient, Mel’s Charities

In only its second year of supporting Wisconsin non-profits through its Legacy Grant Program, the Wispact Foundation distributed over $600,000 to 75 organizations serving the disabled throughout Wisconsin.

Since 1999, Mel’s Charities, Inc. has been having fun and impacting countless lives throughout Ozaukee County. Wispact is proud to support Mel’s Charities with a $5,000 grant to support their PIGments for a Cause program.

The story begins over 20 years ago when Tom “Mel” Stanton and his wife Nancy, gathered a group 50 friends at the Cedars III Bowling Lanes. At that event Mel realized how fortunate he and his friends were and wondered if there was a way to help others who were not so lucky. At that time, Mel learned of a single mother with a special needs child. Mel’s group then decided to hold a raffle that raised $350 which was donated to the Special Olympics. Since then, Mel’s Charities has grown significantly and has been actively supporting other like-minded non-profit organizations in Ozaukee County.

“Wispact is a perfect partner, they believe in our mission. They’re in the trenches every day, meeting with and supporting families with disabilities. We couldn’t be more grateful for what they do and the support they’ve provided us.”

— Tom “Mel” Stanton, Founder Mel’s Charities, Cedarburg, WI

To date, Mel’s has awarded just under $2 million in grants supporting persons with disabilities, memorials and community impact. Fundraising is accomplished through donations, grants and several signature events including Mel’s pig roast which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2023. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from all events are donated back to the community.

Wispact’s grant will be used to support PIGments for a Cause which includes artists with special needs who are impacting lives in their community through art. The Wispact grant will allow Pigments for a Cause to increase participation and purchasing supplies.

“Wispact is a perfect partner, they believe in our mission. They’re in the trenches every day, meeting with and supporting families with disabilities. We couldn’t be more grateful for what they do and the support they’ve provided us,” Mel concluded.


About Wispact

Wispact’s mission is to improve the lives of people of all ages with disabilities across Wisconsin through the management of special needs trusts to provide more choice, more opportunities, and a better quality of life.

Our special needs trusts are created to help preserve the assets of people with disabilities without endangering their eligibility for public benefits or placement on waiting lists.

About the Wispact Foundation

The Wispact Inc. Foundation was established in 2021 in recognition of its dedication to provide a broader scope of service and create more opportunities for improving the lives of persons with disabilities across Wisconsin.

As an agency endowment fund established by Wispact Inc. and managed by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, the organization endeavors to make lasting community impacts through grants to organizations that serve persons with disabilities.

Phone 608-268-6006
Toll Free 833-653-6503
Fax 608-252-8449
Toll Free Fax 855-588-2200

Phone 608-268-6006
Toll Free 833-653-6503
Fax 608-252-8449
Toll Free Fax 855-588-2200

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