Wispact Newsletter Summer 2023 

Wispact: Progress in Meeting Goals

Approximately every three years, the Wispact Board outlines a 3-year Strategic Plan for staff to follow.

In the current Strategic Plan, the Board outlined six tactical areas to assist the organization to grow its positive impact for individuals with disabilities residing here in Wisconsin. The defined areas of strategic concentration include: Philanthropy – growth and expansion of its philanthropic arm, the Wispact Foundation; Community – ensuring that Wispact’s messaging is effectively reaching all regions of Wisconsin; Advocacy – increasing our strategic partnerships for organizations providing advocacy for adequate/improved support services for individuals with disabilities; IT Infrastructure – improving our client services and Trust administration; and Equity – fostering engagements across all representative communities.

Some of the highlights on progress Wispact has made in these strategic areas, include:

  • Philanthropy – The Wispact Foundation awarded Legacy Grants in 2021 totaling over $168,000 to 22 non-profit organizations. In 2022, only its second year of supporting Wisconsin non-profits through its Legacy Grant Program, the Wispact Foundation distributed more than $637,000 to 75 recipients.
  • Community – In 2023 with a full return to in-person events, Wispact Outreach has attended and is scheduled to exhibit/make presentations at more than 40 events across the state. In May 2023, Wispact organized a 2-day Financial Literacy Workshop for more than 200 people from diverse communities from both urban and rural areas of the state.
  • Advocacy – At both site visits to grant recipients by the Wispact Foundation and at outreach events, Wispact is strengthening our partnerships with organizations that serve people with disabilities and gathering feedback on needed support services.
  • IT Infrastructure – Wispact has fully implemented our customer relationship management system and is working on internal document management. Both are aimed at improving the customer experience.
  • Equity – Both Foundation grantee site visits and sponsorships of various events for individuals with disabilities foster engagements across all representative communities. These also provide an opportunity to engage with various community leaders across the state. In June, Wispact Staff completed a one-day Staff Retreat/Development/Equity Workshop facilitated by Abha Thakkar, an organizational development facilitation coach.


Internet: Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program offers accepted households a monthly credit to help pay for internet service. You can receive a credit of up to $30 per month toward your internet service, or of up to $75 if your household is on Tribal lands.

Visit the FCC National Verifier website: https://www.fcc.gov/acp to find a complete list of eligibility criteria for the Affordable Connectivity Program. If you’re eligible, here’s how to enroll:

  1. Complete your application on the FCC National Verifier  https://www.getinternet.gov/ website. You may receive immediate approval; however, if your eligibility can’t be confirmed automatically, you’ll receive a request for additional documentation.
  2. Once you’re approved, go to your Internet Provider (such as Spectrum or Charter ) online form to finish your application. It’s important to complete both the FCC National Verifier form and your Internet Provider online form.
  3. After you’ve submitted your Internet Provider application, you’ll receive updates by email.

Note: The personal information you provide on the FCC website and the Internet Provider application must match exactly.

View instructions and other resources to help you receive your ACP benefit: https://www.getinternet.gov/

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.

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.

Beneficiaries and Advisors: Please Update Your Mailing Address

To ensure that you and your advisors get important trust statements and tax information, please make sure your address and your advisor’s address is correct and up-to-date. If you are unsure if Wispact has the correct address – please contact your Beneficiary Specialist to update your information (see the staff phone listing for contacts).

“We enhance the well-being of people of all ages with disabilities across Wisconsin through the management of special needs trusts by promoting more choice and opportunities.”

About the Email Newsletter
Beneficiaries and Advisors – Wispact has switched to an email format for newsletters. If you would like someone to receive this (beneficiary or advisor), please reply to James Giese, Director of Communications, jgiese@wispact.org or call 608-268-6006 ext 209. To unsubscribe, click on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email or reply to this message with your unsubscribe request.

If you have questions about your trust account, please contact your Beneficiary Specialist.

Wispact, Inc.
226 Corporate Drive
Madison, WI 53714
(608) 268-6006 | F (608) 252-8449

For a staff listing: https://www.wispact.org/staff/

Wispact, Inc. is not a registered investment adviser, registered stock broker or broker-dealer and does not offer investment advisory services, programs or products. Any investment questions should be directed to qualified licensed professional financial advisers.