SPARK Grant Builds Accessible Pier

May 15, 2014

Zachariah’s Acres in Oconomowoc recently used a $5,000 SPARK grant from Diversified Insurance Solutions to build a pier and dock system so children in wheelchairs and other assistive devices can experience the beauty of a pond and the joy of fishing.

Just days after it was finished, the new pier was put to use as part of a fish release and Arbor Day event. The pier will also come in handy during a free Spring Celebration Zachariah’s Acres is hosting on May 31. The organization’s mission is to make respite, recreation and nature accessible to children with special health care needs and their families.

“We’re creating a place where children with disabilities feel included, accommodated, welcomed and loved,” says Terry Bartowitz, president and lead volunteer of Zachariah’s Acres. “We want these children and their families to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of being outside and engaging with nature.”

Other upcoming events at Zachariah’s Acres include a July 19 Summer Celebration and October 11 Fall Harvest Fest that features a hayride, pick your own pumpkin and Trail Run/Walk/Roll. During its first two years of operation, Zachariah’s Acres has served more than 1,600 guests.

“Zachariah’s Acres is doing important work that brings so many benefits to children who have health challenges,” says James McCormack, founder and chairman of Diversified Insurance Solutions. “The children enjoy a fun activity that’s designed especially for them. Plus, their siblings get to participate and parents can meet others who are in similar situations.”

For more information on upcoming events or volunteer opportunities at Zachariah’s Acres, visit

The year-long $30,000 SPARK giveback program was developed as part of Diversified Insurance Solutions’ 30th anniversary. The company is funding new or existing programs that use fresh ideas to address a community need or problem. The next SPARK grant will be awarded in May. For more information, visit

To date, five SPARK grants have been awarded to:
-Zachariah’s Acres in Oconomowoc
-Nehemiah Project in Milwaukee to establish a literacy program for teenage boys who are 3-5 grade levels below their educational placement. Literacy programs exist for young children and adults but teens are often overlooked.
-Humane Animal Welfare Society in Waukesha to fund The Citizen Project, a new program to teach 200 teen offenders responsibility, empathy and concern for others by caring for animals.
-Dominican Center for Women in Milwaukee to purchase much-needed school and classroom supplies for 80 kindergartens at Hopkins Lloyd Community School in Milwaukee.
-Royal Family Kids Camp Hartland to give 30 abused and neglected children life-changing experiences during a week-long sleepover camp.

Diversified Insurance Solutions is one of Wisconsin's largest, full-service insurance brokers, providing employee benefits, risk management and business insurance to area companies. For more information, visit

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