Program Assistant: 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 four core program areas (Higher Learning, Arts and Culture, Public Knowledge, and Humanities in Place) as well as out of the Office of the President.  The Foundation seeks a Program Assistant for the Higher Learning program.


The holder of the position will provide grant management, administrative, clerical, and logistical support for the program as well as grants and administrative support for the Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning.  He/she/they 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 higher-education 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, and assisting with preparing dockets for trustee meetings) with collaborative work with colleagues on program planning, special projects, and organizing meetings hosted by the program.  The Program Assistant will report to the Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning.  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

  • Participate as needed in meetings with current and potential grantees; take meeting notes and maintain notes and records on grant and potential grant activities
  • Review reports from grantees in detail, correspond with them about deficiencies, alert program colleagues to unresolved difficulties
  • Correspond with grantees as required, including processing budget reallocations, no-cost extensions, and other grant modifications
  • 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 grant management system
  • Support the Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning in processing grant reports and modifications, and in completing special projects for program leads
  • 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
  • Assist with information gathering regarding the development of new grant initiatives and the review of existing programs

Administrative Duties

  • General office and grant-related work, such as maintaining program records, preparing correspondence, responding to requests for information, handling phone calls, photocopying, word processing, and various other tasks as assigned
  • Assist Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning in monitoring program workflows and deadlines
  • Process honoraria and other program expenses 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 humanities or social sciences, or would be a student currently working toward an MA or equivalent.  One or more years of full-time work experience is required.  Experience with grants administration 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
  • Willingness to work with a diverse constituency and on multiple tasks, at times under deadline pressure
  • Computer literacy and proficiency, particularly with Microsoft Office applications (Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Outlook, SharePoint)
  • Familiarity with Fluxx or other grant management systems is a plus
  • Ability to learn new applications quickly
  • Integrity, intelligence, discretion, humility, flexibility, and a 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.

Candidates should apply by submitting a thoughtful cover letter describing fit for the position together with a resume to:  Program Assistant.  We will consider each response carefully, but contact only those individuals we feel are most qualified for the position.