Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning: Job Description

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation ("Foundation") is a not-for-profit, grantmaking organization that seeks to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies. It makes grants in five core program areas (higher education and scholarship in the humanities; arts and cultural heritage; diversity; scholarly communications; and international higher education and strategic projects).  The Foundation seeks a Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning for the Office of the Executive Vice President for Programs and Research.

Position Details

The Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning in the office of the Executive Vice President for Program and Research will be a strategic thinker and thought partner for the EVP, President, and Program Leaders of the Foundation.  She/he/they will be the senior member of the EVP’s team, and assist her in the shaping and implementation of ongoing and new initiatives that sustain and renew the Foundation’s directions in grantmaking and research.  The Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning will coordinate convenings and communications that extend these initiatives into the communities involved in this work, and serve as a critical resource to the Foundation leadership and colleagues across the organization.  Reporting to the EVP, she/he/they will represent the EVP in internal and external engagements to communicate the Foundation's strategic directions, programmatic activities, and values and aspirations.

The primary responsibilities may include, but will not be limited to:

  • Working closely with the EVP, President, and relevant program leaders and staff on strategic visioning for the Foundation's programs
  • Developing documentation protocol and timelines for strategic planning and implementation of new directions for the Foundation's programs
  • Serve as the EVP's thought partner for the reconsideration and redevelopment of the Foundation's international grantmaking and collaborations, including the Foundation's support of refugee scholars and students
  • Help the EVP and colleagues in the Higher Education program develop a strategy that would strengthen honors programs in community colleges
  • Assist the EVP and other Foundation colleagues in the further development of the Mellon Research Forum (MRF) on the Value of the Liberal arts, and in the possible conceptualization of other instantiations of the MRF in the areas of the arts, humanities, and international knowledge production
  • Assist the EVP in the development of budgets for the programs and strategic initiatives, and in tracking of overall strategic initiative expenditures
  • Help plan effective convenings of grantees and other stakeholders in the Foundation's strategic initiatives
  • Work with the Foundation's office of communications to develop clear, consistent, and effective communications of the Foundation's strategic initiatives
  • Where appropriate, coauthor, with the EVP and/or other program staff, blogs about the Foundation's strategic priorities
  • Liaise with members of the President's staff about shared initiatives and communications
  • Liaise and collaborate with program staff who manage grants related to our key strategic initiatives
  • Represent the EVP and the Foundation in meetings with potential grantees and consultants on specific initiatives
  • Initiate grant development in specific areas of grantmaking related to the strategic initiatives and lodged in the EVP's office
  • Oversee the work of a program assistant in the EVP's office in relation to grantmaking and grant tracking
  • Speak in appropriate forums about the Foundation's mission, strategic directions, and programmatic initiatives
  • Help maintain a work environment that is collegial, outcomes-oriented, and efficient
  • Serve as the EVP's representative and in own capacity on cross-Foundation committees and task forces as needed

Required Skills and Experience

  • Master's degree or higher in an academic discipline related to higher education, the humanities, arts, and/or public policy
  • Experience developing new initiatives and managing change in a foundation, NGO, or institution of higher education or culture
  • Operational experience, including budget management
  • 7–10 years professional experience, including staff management
  • Ability to think nimbly, and connect ideas and practices across sectors and fields of knowledge
  • Exceptional oral, written, and visual communication and presentation skills, including public speaking
  • Demonstrated capacity to influence, negotiate, and facilitate processes in a collegial manner
  • Superior organizational, project, and resource management skills
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently in a fast-paced environment, effectively structure projects, and prioritize time and task sequences
  • Familiarity with the grantmaking process
  • Willingness to travel
  • Broad curiosity
  • Well-developed empathy, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal skills
  • Currency with communications strategy and digital and social media
  • Technological savvy, and proficiency in MS Office Suite as well as grant management software such as Fluxx

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:  AWMF – Manager of Strategic Initiatives.  The Foundation will consider each response carefully, but only contact those individuals it believes are most qualified for the position.