Sunday, May 20, 2012

Laura Sparks to Join WPF as Director of Grants and Philanthropic Ventures

Laura Sparks to Join WPF as Director of Grants and Philanthropic Ventures
Publication Date: May 11, 2012

WPF is pleased to announce the appointment of Laura Sparks as Director of Grant Programs and Philanthropic Ventures. Sparks will serve as the senior executive responsible for the Foundation’s programmatic direction, overseeing WPF’s $80 million grant budget. She will develop new opportunities to advance the Foundation’s goals, manage systems for due diligence and quality underwriting, monitor the performance of WPF’s grant portfolios, and lead ongoing improvement of grantmaking functions.

“Laura brings a wealth of experience in understanding nonprofit organizations, measuring results, and building smart staffing and management strategies,” said Foundation president Jeremy Nowak. “She will be a wonderful partner to our staff and board.”

Laura Sparks

Sparks is currently Director of Development Finance Initiatives at Citi, based in New York City, where she works to develop innovative programs that expand partnerships with local and national community development organizations, bringing new investment to low-wealth communities.

In previous positions at Citi and with the Opportunity Finance Network, Sparks developed data-driven program management strategies, led implementation of strategic plans, and served as a liaison with financial regulators. She previously worked as an investment banker for corporate, municipal, and higher education clients at Goldman Sachs and UBS.

She is active in a broad variety of nonprofit endeavors that advance the interests of low-income people and communities, working in a variety of leadership roles with Living Cities, the Asset Funders Network, the Low Income Investment Fund, the Asian Mosaic Fund Giving Circle, and Philadelphia V.I.P.

Sparks received her J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, her M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and her B.A. in Philosophy from Wellesley College. She resides in Philadelphia with her husband and their two children.

Sparks will join the Foundation in July 2012.

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