Program Assistant: Job Description

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation ("Foundation") is a not-for-profit, grant making 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 four core program areas (higher education and scholarship in the humanities; arts and cultural heritage; scholarly communications; and international higher education and strategic projects).  The Foundation seeks a Program Assistant in the Arts and Cultural Heritage (ACH) program.


The holder of the position will provide programmatic and logistical support for the program as well as administrative assistance to the Program Director and Program Officers.  He/she will work in close collaboration with the entire ACH staff (approximately a dozen people), as well as with staff in other program areas and in the General Counsel's office.  He/she will participate in various collective activities of the program and the Foundation, and on occasion may take on special assignments.

The Program Assistant will have an opportunity to acquire experience in the administration of the grantmaking process, and in working with arts and culture professionals.  We seek a thoughtful, strongly motivated, energetic and congenial individual with well-developed communication competencies and organizational skills.  This position combines independent work on on-going grantmaking activities (such as reviewing reports, responding to calls and correspondence from grantees, assisting with preparing dockets for trustee meetings) with collaborative work with colleagues on program planning, special projects, and on organizing meetings hosted by the program.  The Program Assistant will report to a Program Officer.  The work is detail-oriented and requires precision, patience, efficiency, good humor and discretion.

Position Details

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

Grant Management

  • Monitor the progress of proposals from first receipt to presentation to the Board of Trustees, including their tracking and management in Fluxx, the Foundation's online document management system
  • Review reports from grantees in detail, correspond with them about deficiencies, alert program colleagues to unresolved difficulties
  • Identify the need for grant modifications and no-cost extensions, and facilitate the modification approval process by providing instructions to the grantee, reviewing request materials, and updating relevant information in Fluxx
  • Review unsolicited inquiries and respond directly or forward to program officer
  • Work with other Foundation departments to ensure timely delivery and processing of grant-related information, and facilitate rapid response to internal questions as they arise
  • Update grant files in Fluxx, resolve inconsistencies, and prepare reports
  • Assist with information gathering regarding the development of new grant initiatives and the review of existing programs as requested by program leaders

Administrative Duties

  • General office and grant-related work, such as electronic filing, maintaining program records, preparing correspondence, responding to requests for information, handling phone calls, word processing, and various other tasks as assigned
  • Provide backup to the administrative assistant on managing the appointment schedules, travel, and expenses for program leaders as needed
  • Assist with planning and coordinating arrangements for on- and off-site meetings
  • Assist staff with ongoing maintenance and updating of the program website
  • Carry out research projects and analysis related to the program as assigned


The ideal candidate would hold a bachelor's degree, preferably in the arts or humanities, or would be a student currently working toward an MA or equivalent.  A minimum of 2–3 years full-time experience in a fast-paced, high-volume office environment and experience with grants administration would be preferred.

Applicants should possess:

  • Ability to work with minimal direct supervision and manage multiple projects, while being a committed team player
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Ability to read and understand organizational budgets
  • Self-starting and proactive anticipation of team needs; must be able to take direction as well as work independently
  • Outstanding organizational skills and impeccable attention to detail
  • Willingness to work with a diverse constituency and on multiple tasks, at times under deadline pressure, and with minimal direct supervision after initial training
  • Computer literacy and proficiency, particularly with Microsoft Office applications (Access, Excel, PowerPoint, Word), data analysis and visualization skills, and familiarity with online media platforms such as Twitter and Tumblr; knowledge of SharePoint or Fluxx would be a bonus
  • Ability to learn new applications quickly
  • Integrity, intelligence, discretion, flexibility and sense of humor
  • Understanding of and commitment to the goals of the program and the Foundation

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:  Program Assistant (ACH).  We will consider each response carefully, but contact only those individuals we feel are most qualified for the position.