Sparks she / her / hers
Sparks values and is deeply committed to promoting equity based on her experience as a queer, multi-racial, 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 the foundation, Sparks worked in philanthropy for 12 years, as a Program Officer and founded Queer Leaders in Philanthropy (a national network focused on changing the culture of philanthropy to be more empowering of LGBTQ individuals through advocacy and community building).
Sparks has served on the Program Committee for Horizons Foundation for ten years and regularly advises Astraea, National Center for Family Philanthropy, Asian-American Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, and Council on Foundations. She a former Board Member of San Francisco Women Against Rape (SFWAR) and the SF LGBT Community Center, and currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District.
In addition to volunteering her time, Sparks has led initiatives to make the field of philanthropy more accessible. She founded Horizons Foundation’s young donor circle called HYPE and was a founding member of the Funding Queerly Giving Circle which, in five years after granting out $1+ million, fundraised and allocated more money to small-budget LGBTQ nonprofits than any other US-based giving circle in history.
Prior to entering philanthropy, Sparks worked as a clinical social worker for foster care youth in Harlem, New York, and received a BA from Vassar College, an MSW from UC Berkeley, and an MBA from the University of Washington. She lives in San Francisco with her partner, Sierra, and adorable Morkie named Panda and travels up to Seattle regularly for work with the foundation.