AMY JAFFE BARZACH
President of Powerful Inspiration; Speaker, Author & Workshop Leader;
Ashoka - North American Fellow, Chairman of Inclusive Fitness
Coalition’s Inclusive Play National Workgroup; and Founder & Director
Emeritus of Boundless Playgrounds®
Amy Jaffe Barzach, nationally acclaimed speaker, coach, and advocate for
inclusive communities and children with disabilities, discovered the power of
following one’s passion when she led a passionate team of parents and
professionals to found Boundless Playgrounds™ in 1997. Today, because of
Amy and the many thousands of people she touched and inspired, over 100
inclusive playgrounds have been built in communities throughout the U.S. and
Canada where families and children of all abilities can play and learn together.
Her personal journey is chronicled in the book, Accidental Courage, Boundless
In response to requests from people all over the country, Amy started Powerful
Inspiration™; a company dedicated to helping people everywhere discover their
own power to make positive change in the world.
“As I traveled throughout the country over the last decade, sharing my dreams for Boundless Playgrounds with people
and hearing theirs, I learned that there was an enormous opportunity to help people bring about - in their own way and
for what matters to them - the kind of impact we were able to achieve with the creation of Boundless Playgrounds,” said
Amy. She continued, “People from all walks of life are hungry to know how they can use their personal energy and
passion to positively impact their communities and society as a whole. In today’s challenging times, this is more
important than ever. When people hear my story, they realize that they too have the power within themselves to spark
the changes they want to see in the world.”
Through speaking engagements, workshops, and one-on-one, as a Certified Dream Coach, Amy now helps individuals
and organizations learn how to find their passion and how to use their unique strengths to achieve success and make a
Amy’s achievements toward building a world where everyone matters and everyone can make a difference were
recognized in 2002 by Ashoka, the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs, when she was elected
a North American Fellow.
Amy continues to promote the importance of inclusion as the newly appointed Chair of the Inclusive Fitness Coalition’s
Inclusive Play National Workgroup (IFC). The IFC, established by the National Center for Physical Activity and Disability
and the American College of Sports Medicine, brings together 70 organizations from across the country dedicated to
increasing inclusive practices in all forms of fitness, sports and play (www.incfit.org) to raise awareness, educate
policymakers and the public, build partnerships and develop innovating programming.
In 1997, after a successful fifteen year career in corporate marketing and community relations, Amy led a passionate
team of parents and professionals in founding Boundless Playgrounds to help communities develop inclusive
playgrounds. Boundless Playgrounds is now known as the first national nonprofit dedicated to this cause.
In 2007, after serving more than a decade as Boundless Playgrounds’ (www.boundlessplaygrounds.org) Founding
Executive Director, Amy encouraged and whole-heartedly supported its Board of Directors' search for Boundless
Playgrounds' first non-founder chief executive. Fred Leone, joined Boundless Playgrounds as CEO in January 2008.
In September 2008, after a nine-month transition, Amy turned the leadership of Boundless Playgrounds over to Fred
and its Board of Directors, led by Steve Shaw.
During Amy’s tenure, Boundless Playgrounds raised awareness of the need for and benefits of inclusive playgrounds
generating interest from people in every state, helped communities develop 135 inclusive playgrounds in 25 states,
successfully implemented three state initiatives, and raised millions of dollars for this cause including $10,000,000 in
challenge grants that directly helped more than 50 communities develop their own inclusive playgrounds. Cause
marketing partnerships were created with national corporations, Hasbro and CVS/Caremark and then to expand its reach
even further, in 2006, Boundless Playgrounds teamed up with playground equipment manufacturers to offer “Certified
Boundless” playground models. The result was a 250% increase in the number of inclusive Boundless playgrounds built
during the program’s first year.
Amy knows both tragedy and triumph. When her baby Jonathan was still healthy, Amy and her three-year-old son Daniel
had seen a beautiful little girl in a wheelchair sadly watching the other children play on a playground she couldn’t get to or
on. This prompted Amy to ask “Shouldn’t playgrounds be for everyone?” Jonathan died when he was nine months old
from spinal muscular atrophy. To channel their grief, Amy and her husband Peter, marshaled an army of more than 1,000
volunteers to create Jonathan’s Dream, one of the first universally accessible playgrounds in the country. If Jonathan had
lived, he would have needed a wheelchair, and the creation of a playground for children with and without disabilities and
their families became a meaningful way for the Barzach family to honor Jonathan’s memory. Jonathan’s Dream opened
in 1996 on the campus of the Mandell JCC in West Hartford, CT. After one of the volunteers contacted Time magazine, an
article about Jonathan’s Dream was published later that year. Immediately people from across America called wanting to
know how they could create playgrounds like it for the children in their communities. Boundless Playgrounds was created
Amy's dedication to inclusion and children with disabilities has been recognized both within her home state of Connecticut
In November 2008, she received the Martha Stewart Dreamers Into Doers Award. She was featured in an inspiring
profile on the November 12, 2008 show and in all of the magazines published by Martha Stewart the next month.
Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, a global organization that identifies and invests in social entrepreneurs,
extraordinary individuals with unprecedented ideas for change in their communities elected Amy as a North
American Fellow and profiled her in Recognizing Outstanding Innovators.
She received the "Parenting Leaders" Award from Parenting magazine as one of eight outstanding Americans who
have made a difference in children's lives.
As part of its Neighborhood Excellence Initiative, she received a Local Hero Award from Bank of America, and was
recognized with the Woman of Character Award honoring valiant and courageous women, sponsored by The
Hartford Courant and Hoffman Auto Group.
Woman’s Day magazine celebrated her as a woman whose contributions help better life in America and she received
a "Women at Their Best Award" from Saturn Corporation and Glamour magazine, which recognized three women
judged to be dedicated individuals in their community, career and personal accomplishments, as well as being an
inspiration to others.
Her first national award came in 1998 from the National Recreation & Park Association, which honored Amy with the
ROSE Award for "outstanding efforts in advancing parks and recreation." The first national magazine article about Amy
was a multi-page article in Exceptional Parent magazine in 1997. Amy is also the co-author of Accidental Courage,
Boundless Dreams (Aurora Publishing, 2001), a book about the lessons she learned from her son Jonathan’s life and
death and about the inspiration for and growth of Boundless Playgrounds.
Amy has a Bachelor of Science degree in economics from the University of Albany. She earned her MBA with a
concentration in marketing in 1988 from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Prior to establishing Boundless
Playgrounds, she was vice president of marketing for The Hutensky Group (formerly Bronson & Hutensky), where she
implemented community relations programs, orchestrated trade shows and developed special events. Previously she
served as marketing managers for the Rouse Company and the Pyramid Companies. For many years, Amy also taught
workshops for the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Main Street Center to retailers up and down the East Coast.
Amy resides in West Hartford, Connecticut, with her husband, Peter, and three of their children, Daniel, Alyssa and
Michael. Jonathan, her second son, would have been fifteen on April 1, 2009.