The Creation of Hark

Identifying individual needs and building connections to resources through custom resource plans, innovative technology, leveraged data, and community collaborations.

LAST UPDATED • July 29th, 2020

In 2015, Excellerate was approached by area school superintendents to discuss solutions that would assist with students who were not coming to school ready to learn due to physical health, mental health, and basic needs. To learn more about the issue, Excellerate funded a research project called “Join the Solution”, which consisted of approximately 3,000 surveys and 350 focus groups from a wide range of community members. The study attempted to identify why Northwest Arkansas students were not thriving and what solutions need to be implemented as a result. The findings of the study revealed that the region is resource rich and connection poor, meaning that while there are often health and human services available to help, accessing them is much harder than it should be. The study also showed that this wasn’t just a problem with students but with everyone in the region.

The community then identified the need for a “platform” organization, one that could increase collaboration between health and human services professionals, could help individuals navigate the health and human services system, and technology solutions to facilitate connecting resources to the people who need them.

Excellerate launched Hark to be that “platform” organization in 2017, and, since then, Hark has worked with thousands of individuals to identify needs and build connections to resources through building custom resource plans, developing innovative technology, leveraging data, and creating community collaborations. While initially conceived as an incubation of a new organization, it became apparent that Hark was a key “listening” capability for the Foundation and provided a detailed picture of the needs at the individual level. Now known as Hark at Excellerate Foundation, its access to first-hand communication “from the street”, robust data sets, and ability to recognize patterns all continue to be central to Excellerate’s efforts to identify the greatest needs of Northwest Arkansas.