Karen Harshaw

Founder & Principal Consultant

Karen Harshaw is a comprehensive development professional with a passion for connecting inspired people to a fulfilling purpose. With over 20 years in the non-profit world, she has raised millions and through this, she has found her "spark" in life.


Prior to her work as a consultant, Karen worked as the Associate Director for the National Speaking of Women's Health Foundation, Director of Corporate Sponsorships and Events for Monster.com's Diversity Leadership Programs, Director of Development for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Vice President of Development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Cincinnati and the Community Foundation, and Chief Development Officer of WordPlay. 


Her love of raising major gifts and helping nonprofits turn ideas into reality is her passion and the reason for starting SPARK Philanthropy.  Karen inspires to empower staff and board to see fundraising with a positive outlook.  She has done everything from building volunteer programs, to major gift development, grant writing, corporate partnerships, strategic planning and capital campaigns all while building a culture of philanthropy. 

Karen has a strong belief in streamlining processes and working efficiently to have the largest impact on an organization. Her proficiencies in relationship building, organizational and board development brings a fresh outlook to her clients, allowing them to do what they do best – fulfill their missions. 

Karen is a graduate of Ohio University and a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).  And, she has a certificate from the IUPUI Lilly School of Philanthropy in Nonprofit Executive Leadership. 



She is married and has three wonderful children, Eva, Marvin and Cam.  In her spare time, you will find Karen at the gym, reading, or walking her dogs.