Sparks (she/they) values and is deeply committed to promoting equity based on her experience as a queer, multi-racial, next-generation, woman in the field of philanthropy. She is Executive Director of Masto Foundation, a US-based family foundation rooted in the Japanese-American community. Before taking on leadership at her family’s foundation, Sparks worked as a Program Officer for 12 years and founded Queer Leaders in Philanthropy (a national network of LGBTQ+ philanthropic professionals focused on changing the culture of philanthropy to be more supportive of LGBTQ communities through advocacy and solidarity efforts).
Sparks has led initiatives to make the field of philanthropy more accessible for young people, BIPOC individuals, and members of the LGBTQ community. She founded HYPE which was, at one point, the largest network of LGBTQ young donors in the US and was a founding member of the Funding Queerly Giving Circle which, in the five years after granting out over $1 million, fundraised and allocated more money to small budget LGBTQ nonprofits than any other giving circle in history.
Sparks is an active alumni member of Resource Generation, serves on the Advisory Boards of Curve Foundation and Horizons Foundation, and leads the Board Development Committee at the National Center for Lesbian Rights. In addition to Co-Chairing the 2019 NCFP Forum in Chicago, Sparks is on both the Planning and Host Committees for this year’s Forum.
Prior to entering philanthropy, Sparks worked as a clinical social worker for foster care youth in Harlem, New York, and received a BA in Psychology from Vassar College, an MSW from UC Berkeley, and an MBA from the University of Washington. When travel allows, she splits her time between Seattle for work and San Francisco where she lives with her partner, Sierra, and adorable Morkie named Panda.
Engaging Youth Peer Network: Power, Privilege, and Navigating Family Philanthropy
Posted on September 23, 2021 by A. Sparks
Racial Justice in Family Philanthropy Symposium
Posted on September 19, 2021 by Vincent Robinson, Doua Thor, Dwayne S. Marsh, Irene Wong, Sandy Herz, John Matthew Sobrato, Nora Leccese, Annie Mahon, Hanna Mahon, Sam Vinal
20th Anniversary Symposium: Imagining the Future of Family Philanthropy
Posted on September 13, 2018 by Virginia M. Esposito, Carol S. Larson, Ayelet Baron, Sierra Clark, A. Sparks, Didier Sylvain, Farhad Ebrahimi, Kelly Chopus, Richard Woo, Mary Mountcastle
Generation next – Young donors inspiring a new generation of philanthropists
Posted on January 9, 2014 by A. Sparks, Lana Volftsun, Nini Meyer
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