Sparks (she/her) 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 currently Executive Director of Masto Foundation, a US-based family foundation rooted in the Japanese-American community. Prior to taking on leadership at her family’s foundation, Sparks worked in philanthropy for 12 years as a Program Officer and founded Queer Leaders in Philanthropy (a national network of LGBTQ-identified philanthropic professionals focused on changing the culture of philanthropy to be more empowering of LGBTQ individuals through advocacy and community building).

Sparks has led initiatives to make the field of philanthropy more accessible for young people and members of the LGBTQ community. She founded HYPE (Horizons Young Professionals for Equality) one of the largest networks fo LGBTQ 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 US-based giving circle in history.

Sparks is also an active alumni member of Resource Generation (a national network of young, wealthy, progressive donors) and continues to promote leadership and the inclusion of people of color in family philanthropy at National Center for Family Philanthropy, AAPIP (Asian American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy), and the Council on Foundations.

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.

Contributions

Engaging Youth Peer Network: Power, Privilege, and Navigating Family Philanthropy

Posted on September 23, 2021 by A. Sparks

This special interactive event is for teen grantmakers or rising youth from your families (approximately ages 8-21) and the adults who support them. Join this conversation with Sparks, CEO of her family’s foundation, about navigating family, power, privilege, and the philanthropy field.  During this discussion, we will have time to learn from her journey, discuss the work of Masto Foundation,… Read More

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

In addition to a celebration of NCFP’s 20th Anniversary, the Symposium will explore key themes, trends, and bold ideas generated over the year by the Imagining the Future initiative. We will also unveil several new NCFP research initiatives including Pride of Place, a report exploring how boards stay true to the original geographic focus of the family foundation after trustees have moved away.  … Read More