StaffGrantmaking Programs

Laura Sparks, Chief Philanthropy Officer

Laura Sparks is the senior executive responsible for the Foundation’s programmatic direction, overseeing WPF’s $80 million grant budget. In this role, she develops new opportunities to advance the Foundation’s goals, manages systems for due diligence and quality underwriting, monitors the performance of WPF’s grant portfolios, and leads ongoing improvement of grantmaking functions.


Before joining the Foundation, Sparks was Director of Development Finance Initiatives at Citi, based in New York City, developing programs to 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 has been active in a range of nonprofit endeavors that advance the interests of low-income people and communities, working in 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.