SPARK Grant Helps Kindergarteners

Sept. 20, 2013

Just hours after hearing they’d received a $5,000 SPARK grant from Diversified Insurance Solutions, the Dominican Center for Women, Inc. had purchased enough school supplies to fill the back of a minivan. Classes had already started for 80 K-4 and K-5 students at Hopkins Lloyd Community School but most students didn’t come with anything.

The school is located in the Amani neighborhood, and 94 percent of its students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. Through careful shopping, the SPARK grant was stretched to also cover new headphones for computers and age-appropriate toys, games and balls for the kindergartners to use at recess.

“Our Giveback program was designed to provide an infusion of cash so local nonprofits can quickly address an issue or a problem,” says James McCormack, founder and chairman of Diversified Insurance Solutions. “Knowing that our funds got 80 young ones properly outfitted with supplies that are absolutely necessary for school is an amazing feeling for me and all the associates at Diversified.”

Since 1995, the Dominican Center has been a trusted anchor in the Amani neighborhood. It serves as a catalyst for change, involves residents in revitalization projects and mentors and convenes resident groups. In 2011, the Dominican Center and Hephatha Lutheran Church successfully worked with Amani neighbors to prevent the closing of the neighborhood Hopkins School.

The new Hopkins Lloyd Community School serves 428 students, 95% of whom are African American. The school has a significant number of families who are homeless and, while academic scores for grade 3 and above are low, neighbors and teachers are committed to improve the school climate and academics. The school doesn’t issue a basic supply list because its families don’t have the money to purchase extras.

“We’ve adopted the kindergarten classrooms and are committed to supporting the children who are just starting their formal education,” says Sister Patricia Rogers, OP, executive director of the Dominican Center for Women. “It’s so crucial to have four and five year olds begin the school year on a positive note. If we hadn’t received the SPARK grant, the children and teachers would have had to just make do with the few supplies they had on hand.”

The year-long $30,000 SPARK Giveback program was developed as part of Diversified Insurance Solutions’ 30th anniversary. The company wants to fund new or existing programs that use fresh ideas to address a community need or problem. The next $5,000 SPARK grant will be awarded in November.

The first grant was presented in July to Royal Family Kids Camp Hartland, a new program in Waukesha County that gave 30 abused and neglected children life-changing experiences during a week-long sleepover camp this August.

“As a company, we’re extremely community minded so we wanted to celebrate our anniversary in a way that has an impact beyond our doors,” says McCormack. “We hope our program will spark change and positive results in the community. We’d also like it to have a ripple effect so other small and medium-sized businesses are encouraged to get involved in the community and give back in any way they can.”

Tax exempt, nonprofit organizations in Milwaukee, Waukesha, Washington and Ozaukee counties are encouraged to submit their grant request at www.DiversifiedSPARK.com now through April 30, 2014. A total of six nonprofits will be awarded $5,000 each to positively impact the community and people they serve.

Community Watch

» Wauwatosa West girls basketball coach Ashley Imperiale resigns 7/26

» Store owners, police weigh in on string of protests at Mayfair mall Updated:  7/26

» Tosa police will not release squad video of officer-involved shooting Updated:  7/25

» Wauwatosa school district files lawsuit against WIAA over conference realignment Updated:  7/25

» Protest over fatal shooting forces brief closure of Mayfair Mall 7/23

» Reports into fatal Wauwatosa police shooting delivered to DA 7/22

» Social media story on the storms rolling through Milwaukee area 7/21

» Business Spotlight: Cranky Al's has grown from desperation to a Wauwatosa institution Updated:  7/20

» Initial Reaction Podcast: Wisconsin Badgers football, WIFCA All-Star game 7/20

» Michaelis leads Wauwatosa East past rival West in regional 7/20

» Milwaukee County Chargers earn overtime win over Muskego 7/20

» Activists push DA for disclosure on police killing in Wauwatosa 7/19

» Video: How a Pokémon Go newbie experienced the craze playing in Wauwatosa Updated:  7/19

» Tosa police, firefighters celebrated during First Responders Fest 7/18

» Ray's Wine & Spirits in Tosa celebrates 55 years with public party 7/15

» Wauwatosa's Relay for Life event slated for July 22 7/14

» Wauwatosa Mayor Kathy Ehley receives award for business leadership 7/14

» Video: Mayfair Collection's Bartolotta restaurants billed as 'triple threat' Updated:  7/14

» Bus rapid transit route clears two hurdles 7/13

» A look at the French restaurant Cafe Grace, opening Tuesday in Wauwatosa 7/13

» Wauwatosa West baseball team drops four of last five games 7/12

» Wauwatosa East baseball team falls to Marquette in Greater Metro semifinals 7/12

» Coalition for Justice, Black Lives Matter protest in Milwaukee, Tosa Updated:  7/12

» Second demonstration in less than a week held at Mayfair 7/12

» Milwaukee County Chargers win first game 7/12

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss

Best Summer Ever

 

We've made it easy for you to get out and go this summer. From hitting the trails for a bike ride or walk, to where to find beer gardens in the area, to the best places to swim in Waukesha County to the best summer drinks and summer reads, check out our 2016 summer guide.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Hidden Tosa

 

"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where our Wauwatosa reporter explores the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.

Advertisement

CONNECT