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.


A Next Generation Perspective: The State of Philanthropy—San Francisco Regional Convening

Posted on September 19, 2023 by Rebecca Randall, Kimberly Myers Hewlett, A. Sparks

Cable car going down hill in San Francisco
In philanthropy, meaningful change is the aim—it’s the purpose and the promise. But in striving for and achieving impact, have we been effective? Who decides the measures of success and what are the conditions that promote meaningful and enduring progress? And how is the next generation particularly positioned to promote effectiveness? Join the National Center for Family Philanthropy and Northern California… Read More

The Solidarity of Repair

Posted on August 15, 2022 by Leticia Nieto, Miki Akimoto, A. Sparks, June L. Wilson

To quote Leticia Nieto and Margot Boyer, “…we can’t have a more just society without talking about injustice.”  And to take it one step further, without talking about how we repair, and restore what has been lost to systems of injustice and oppression.  Join us for a discussion of how to support the practices of racial reckoning and reparative action, using the… Read More

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

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

Registration is now closed. If you have questions, please email NCFP’s Family Philanthropy Racial Justice Symposium is a two-day virtual learning opportunity for family foundation board members, CEOs, senior staff, and next generation family members seeking to deepen their knowledge around racial equity frameworks and practices. Leverage Philanthropic Partners, ABFE, Resource Generation, other experts in this space will lead… 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