Institutional Communications Manager: Job Description

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation ("Foundation") believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and we believe that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom to be found there.  Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive.  It makes grants in four core program areas (Higher Learning, Arts and Culture, Public Knowledge, and Humanities in Place).  The Foundation seeks an Institutional Communications Manager in the Communications department.

Description and Scope

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's team of communications professionals are responsible for building and stewarding the Foundation brand and to tell its story, driving outreach and engagement efforts both internally and externally.  Our work strives to:

  • Build broad brand affinity and connection with The Mellon Foundation's work 
  • Encourage appreciation, understanding of, and engagement with the work of our grantees
  • Broadly advocate for the centrality of the arts and humanities in culture

Reporting to the Integrated Content Director, the Institutional Communications Manager will be part of a growing team of communications professionals at The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, tasked with raising the visibility of the Foundation's mission, grantees, and story, always foregrounding the Foundation's social justice lens. 

The Institutional Communications Manager serves as Communications' critical bridge between the Foundation’s grantmaking program officers and other areas of decision-making in the Foundation like the President's office and the COO's office, and the communications team.  Under the direction of the Integrated Content Director, this role surfaces key stories from within the Foundation, researches, and develops content for its various platforms in support of Foundation priorities and the overarching Mellon brand. 

Precise and curious with great storytelling instincts, the successful candidate will translate organizational priorities into multimedia storytelling that extends the reach of Mellon's brand and furthers its core mission of advancing social justice through the arts and the humanities.  An exceptionally strong writer who is comfortable with transforming academic prose and projects into engaging content, the Institutional Communications Manager displays fine-tuned storytelling instincts, demonstrates curiosity and detail-oriented interest in grantmaking in the arts, culture, and higher education done by the Foundation, and understands contemporary content creation.   Deep knowledge of best practices and new approaches around integration of content across platforms and experience working in a cross-functional teams are critical to ensure storytelling coordination and maximum impact for Mellon's work, grantees, and mission. 

Duties and Responsibilities

30% Collaboration across the Foundation:  By establishing strong relationships across the Foundation and developing deep knowledge of the grantmaking, incumbent works across the organization to identify and develop strong and impactful stories about Mellon's philanthropic work.  Translates organizational demands and strategies into cross-platform multimedia storytelling that supports Mellon's priorities and communications goals by lifting up the work of the Foundation, its grants, and grantees while consistently foregrounding the Foundation’s social justice work.  Works cross-functionally across the organization to ensure alignment, including delivering content recommendations to Communications, Events, and President's Office teams. 

50% Content development and execution:  Work with in-house and freelance creative and writing teams to create content for owned flagship properties, including website and social media channels.  Support editorial calendar.  Under direction of the Integrated Content Director, develop content that is on-message, on-brand, engaging and appropriate for each platform and supports the editorial strategy.  Work within Mellon and externally with grantees, partners, and peer organizations to surface and present the most visible and impactful stories across platforms. 

15% Project management:  Develop strong relationships across Mellon, its peer organizations, and grantees.  Stay current on latest trends and functionality for content development, storytelling, marketing.  Maintain campaign planning documents and timelines to ensure team alignment.  Organize assets, copy, and other creative to assure materials are at the ready and well organized. Maintain instruments for tracking performance metrics across platforms, as assigned. 

5% Analysis and measurement:  Work with team to develop meaningful analytics, including the processes and tools to deliver metrics.  Track content performance across paid, owned, shared channels. 

Required Skills and Experience

The successful candidates will have the following qualifications:

  • Bachelor's degree required; advanced degree welcome
  • 5+ years of experience in higher education research coverage, arts coverage, strategic communications, creative and cross-platform content development, journalism, or related field, and a demonstrated commitment to a mission-driven environment. 
  • Articulated deep curiosity about the current landscape in the arts and higher education; experience or willingness to quickly learn about these broad verticals
  • Commitment to social justice and understanding of how social justice informs the Foundation's work in arts, culture and humanities. 
  • Exceptional ability to identify stories:  Understands how individual stories intersect with broader communications goals; has demonstrated experience working directly with colleagues undertaking technical work and able to translate for communications purposes
  • Deep knowledge of current landscape and best practices regarding storytelling for brand-building:  Digital experience and understanding contemporary use of social media channels is essential.
  • Exceptional oral and written communications skills, including very strong editing skills.  Experience and proven ability to work with other writers, designers, producers, and more. 
  • Experience in contributing to comprehensive communications and content plans.  Ability to coordinate well with others in carrying out those plans.
  • Experience promoting activities and events for both media coverage and audience-building to support top organizational leadership.
  • Sound judgment: Ability to provide well-reasoned, highly informed and strategic counsel to the department. 
  • Ability to quickly cultivate strong relationships within the Foundation.
  • Reliable, trustworthy, and operates consistently with the utmost integrity.  Can foster commitment, trust, and teamwork within the department and beyond.

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer that offers a competitive salary, outstanding benefits, and excellent working conditions.

Contact Information

Candidates should apply by submitting a thoughtful cover letter describing fit for the position together with a resume to:  Institutional Communications Manager.  The Foundation will consider each response carefully, but only contact those individuals it believes are most qualified for the position.