The Spark Foundation

The best person to motivate you is YOU. What's your Spark?

Fayetteville, AR   |  www.mysparkfoundation.org

Mission

Our mission is to create a positive impact in the community by providing increased access to health and fitness education and opportunities.

Ruling year info

2011

Board President

Ms. Carey Ashworth

Main address

150 N. Skyline Dr.

Fayetteville, AR 72701 USA

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Formerly known as

Cow Paddy Foundation

EIN

45-0862652

NTEE code info

Other Recreation, Sports, or Leisure Activities N.E.C. (N99)

Philanthropy / Charity / Voluntarism Promotion (General) (T50)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We choose to focus on health because it is the number one key to living your most successful, fulfilling life possible. And yet, the United States has been experiencing a health and obesity epidemic for decades. Currently, every 7 out of 10 deaths in the U.S. are caused by chronic diseases which could have likely been avoided with relatively simple health and fitness habits.

Some reports have stated that this generation may actually have a lower life expectancy than their parents due to the health crisis. Additionally, we're passing it onto our children. Since 1980, childhood obesity rates have tripled. Obesity is the direct cause, but it's a result of a disregard for overall health practices.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Cow Paddy Run

Get ready for family friendly fun on the run at the Cow Paddy Run at Gully Park! This is one of the oldest group races in Fayetteville and was started to promote education and active lifestyles back in the 1980s. The Spark Foundation revived this run in 2011 as part of our mission to create fun and accessible opportunities for physical activity in our community.

There’s a 5K for adults and older kids and a 1K Fun Run for the little ones. Don’t worry though, because there aren’t any real cow paddies to avoid. The name is just part of the tradition of this race, which has played a big part in developing Fayetteville’s pro-fitness, pro-fun culture over the years!

Proceeds go to the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation and Spark’s outreach programing, both of which support innovative education projects in our local schools.

Population(s) Served

If you enjoy craft beer and exercising outdoors for a good cause, the Nutty Runner 5K is for you! At every mile, runners can enjoy a pint of Nutty Runner nut-brown ale courtesy of Columbus House Brewery – one of Fayetteville’s favorite local hangs.

Out of all the runs in Fayetteville, this one may be the “most” Fayetteville! The route will wind through our fair city’s historic downtown and into some of our most scenic neighborhoods. So, a word of warning – there will be hills. But just follow the Nutty Runner race mantra and put “mind over hangover” and you’ll be just fine.

For the more cautious souls who don’t feel the need to drink and run, there’s the Designated Driver division. But however you choose to participate, there will be additional beer, shirts and merch available for purchase during the post-race festivities. It’s a guaranteed good time for all.

Population(s) Served

The Hero Half Marathon is a fundraising race and community event hosted by Spark in partnership with the Fayetteville Firefighters' Association (IAFF Local 28966). Race proceeds benefit organizations that meet important community needs, increase fitness opportunities for the community, and make Fayetteville, AR a great place to live, work, and play.

Population(s) Served

The Spark Foundation works with local schools to support before and after school running clubs by providing curriculum, guest coaches, healthy snacks, and scholarships to area races.

Population(s) Served

The Spark Foundation brings their Obstacle Course to local partner events for a fun, active outdoor experience to encourage physical movement and coordination.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

We want to give more people of all ages access and motivation to build a healthy, active lifestyle. Our community events are all-inclusive, and we focus our efforts with K-6 through our collaborations with local schools. We want all to be able to find joy in motion and choose to be active as often as possible.

Through community racing events that appeal to broad audiences and diverse levels of running experience. Through our outreach programming and collaborations with partner organizations. Through direct giving and grantmaking in support of health and fitness education in our schools.

The Spark Foundation revived the Cow Paddy Run back in 2011 and has grown the family-favorite race to upwards of 750 runners per year with participation from every Fayetteville elementary school as well as a strong network of advocates in the school and community, business sponsorships, and a close relationship with the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation. With a track record that spans both running events and community building, Spark’s board members bring a wealth of experience and drive to Spark's programs every year.

In 2017, The Spark Foundation hired its first full-time Executive Director, Melissa Caffrey, with an extensive background in community building, education, and event production. The addition of the position added the necessary consistency and capacity to increase the number of sponsors, community partners, and course support.

Success to Date
- $24,000 directly to schools through Cow Paddy Run from 2011-2019
- $43,000 to Fayetteville Public Education to further serve FPS teachers and schools through Cow Paddy Run and Hero Half Marathon from 2011-2019
- $1,225 directly to students for designing the annual Cow Paddy Run T-shirt (First, Second, and Third winners since 2013)
- $5,850 in “mini-grants” directly to school & community running clubs to provide for snacks, water bottles, and race entry fees in 2018 and 2019
- 350 Scholarships to local students to participate in ours and other local races (Chile Pepper, Hogeye, Kendrick Fincher, etc.) since 2017

What's Next
- We're deepening our partnerships with schools, local businesses, and other nonprofits whose missions align with the work we do.
- We're redeveloping our running clubs and outreaching programming to best meet the needs of Fayetteville students, teachers, and families.
- We're expanding our race offerings so that runners of any level can join us throughout the year to have fun while practicing healthy habits. 
- We're examining how we can best contribute to our community here in Northwest Arkansas–making it a great place to live, work, and play.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our community partners,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, It is difficult to get honest feedback from the people we serve, It is difficult to identify actionable feedback,

Financials

The Spark Foundation
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

The Spark Foundation

Board of directors
as of 4/30/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Carey Ashworth

Ben Putman

Carey Ashworth

Tyler Green

Jenica Bolduc

Carina Maqueda

Antoinette Grajeda

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 04/30/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

No data

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability