Program and Research Assistant: Job Description

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation ("Foundation") is a not-for-profit, grant making organization that believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom to be found there.  Through its grants, the Foundation seeks to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive.  The Foundation makes grants in four core program areas:  Higher Learning, Public Knowledge, Arts and Culture, and Humanities in Place.  The Foundation seeks a Program and Research Assistant in the Office of the President to support these Presidential Initiatives.


Reporting to the Senior Program Associate and partnering closely with the President's Office team and other colleagues across the Foundation, the Program and Research Assistant will provide programmatic, research, and logistical support to the grantmaking work of the President's Office, with a particular focus on the Puerto Rico initiative and our emerging initiative on the criminal legal system.  We seek a candidate with knowledge about, and lived experience relating to, the US criminal legal system and/or the history, culture, and art of Puerto Rico and its diaspora.

The successful candidate will be highly motivated, collaborative, and congenial, with well-developed written and oral communication and organizational skills.  This position includes independent work on on-going grantmaking activities; episodic or long-term research projects; collaborative work with colleagues across program areas and around the Foundation; and limited administrative work.

The position requires continuous orientation to programmatic and budgetary detail, flexibility, cool-headedness, effective time-management, precision, patience, efficiency, and discretion; the ability to find, digest, and clearly summarize large amounts of information; and capacity to conceptualize and strategize at the programmatic level.  We expect the successful candidate will be a collegial, understanding, and generous person in internal and outward-facing communications.


Responsibilities may include, but will not be limited to, the following:

  • Conduct short- and long-term research in connection with current and new program initiatives, and prepare clear and concise summaries of this research
  • Prepare briefing materials and reports for the Senior Program Associate and/or Director of Presidential Initiatives or other program leadership, as assigned
Grants Administration
  • Monitor and carefully review grant reports, provide grantees with feedback, alert program colleagues to unresolved questions, and take appropriate actions
  • Identify the need for grant modifications and facilitate the modification approval process by providing instructions to the grantee, reviewing requested materials, entering relevant information in Fluxx (the Foundation's online grants management system), and updating other program staff
  • Work with other Foundation departments to ensure timely delivery and processing of grant-related information for proposals, reports, and modifications, and facilitate rapid response to internal questions as they arise
  • Keep grant files in Fluxx up to date; resolve inconsistencies, and prepare reports
  • Review unsolicited inquiries, collect them for discussion with the program team, and take action on them as directed
  • Participate in meetings with current and potential grantees; take notes and maintain files on grant and potential grant activities
General Administration
  • Draft correspondence for the Senior Program Associate and/or the Director of Presidential Initiatives and other program staff, as assigned
  • Assist with planning and coordinating arrangements for virtual, on- and off-site meetings and events
  • Undertake general office work, such as electronic filing, maintaining program records, responding to requests for information, etc.


The ideal candidate would hold a bachelor's degree, preferably in the arts, humanities, policy, or related disciplines, or have equivalent experience, and will have demonstrated interest in topics relevant to the above-described grantmaking initiatives.  Full-time experience in a fast-paced, high-volume office environment and experience with grants administration is preferred but not required.

Applicants should possess:

  • Proven ability to take direction but also to work with minimal direct supervision and manage multiple projects while being a committed team player
  • Superior written communication skills; excellent analytical, critical thinking, and organizational skills with precise attention to detail
  • Strong research skills, together with the ability to summarize information clearly and concisely (orally and in writing)
  • Ability to read and understand organizational budgets
  • A high degree of competency in the MS Office suite, particularly Excel, PowerPoint, and Word, Adobe Suite, and the ability to learn new applications quickly
  • An orientation toward self-starting, proactive anticipation of team needs, and creative problem solving
  • Willingness to grow in the role and to learn from successes and mistakes
  • Flexibility, curiosity, integrity
  • Commitment to social justice, equity, and transformative cultural and memory work
  • Keen understanding of and interest in disciplines in the arts, humanities, and humanistic social science
  • Spanish language proficiency (for oral and written communication)

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 letter of application and a resume to:  Program and Research Assistant.  We will consider each response carefully but contact only those individuals we feel are most qualified for the position.