Program Associate: 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 a Program Associate in Arts and Culture (AC).


The position reports to the program officer with responsibility for the performing arts sector including theaters, dance companies, festivals, orchestras, opera companies, arts presenters, and the artists supported by these institutions, and requires demonstrated experience with some, if not all, dimensions of this grant portfolio.  The position requires close collaboration with the program director, program officers, AC program staff, and other Foundation staff, particularly with grants management associates in the general counsel's office.  The successful candidate will be thoughtful, highly motivated, solutions-oriented, collaborative, and congenial, with well-developed writing, communication, and organizational skills.  This position combines independent work on grantmaking activities (such as corresponding with grantees about proposals, reviewing reports, and assisting with preparing recommendations and other materials for trustee meetings and convenings), research, and work with colleagues around the Foundation.  The work is highly detail-oriented and requires consistent accuracy, the ability to anticipate outcomes, multi-tasking, flexibility, cool-headedness, precision, patience, efficiency, and discretion.

Position Details

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

  • Actively participate in the formulation of new proposals for funding, including offering new ideas for program officers to consider and advising grantees in preparation and revision of the narrative and financial components of proposals.
  • Participate in meetings with current and potential grantees; take notes and maintain notes and records on grant and potential grant activities.
  • Assist in drafting quarterly dockets of grant recommendations and other program-related materials.
  • Work with program assistants on routine grant management, including grant reports and requests for modifications, extensions, and transfers, execute appropriate follow up and alert program leaders to unresolved challenges.
  • Gather information and conduct research regarding the development of new grant initiatives and the review of existing programs.
  • Attend regular program and administrative staff meetings.
  • Contribute to the maintenance of files pertaining to all program inquiries and activities; resolve inconsistencies, and prepare reports.
  • Conduct occasional site visits with the program officer and/or program director, and attend performances at grantee and non-grantee institutions or online, as directed by supervisors and as appropriate to the program’s mission and priorities.
  • Help plan and coordinate on- and off-site meetings.
  • Represent the Foundation at public meetings and conferences as assigned.


The ideal candidate would hold a bachelor's degree; advanced degree in a performing arts-related discipline, arts administration, or MBA; plus three-to-five years of experience working in a performing arts-related institution and/or foundation.  Experience in theater will be particularly valued.  Applicants should possess:

  • Strong financial literacy and understanding of nonprofit financials.  Ability to read and decipher budgets, spreadsheets, and balance sheets.  Experience with grants administration a plus.
  • Demonstrated knowledge of organizational practices and field-wide trends in the performing arts.
  • Superior written communication skills; excellent analytical, critical thinking, and organizational skills with precise attention to detail.
  • Ability to work with minimal direct supervision and manage multiple projects in a high-volume and fast-paced environment to complete assignments on regular deadline, while being a committed team player.
  • Flexibility, adaptability, and curiosity.
  • Indefatigable work ethic with an adaptable temperament and curiosity.
  • Ability to anticipate and solve problems proactively; willingness to learn from mistakes.
  • A high degree of competency in the MS Office suite, particularly Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.
  • Commitment to social justice and cultural equity.
  • Keen understanding of and interest in disciplines in the arts, humanities, and humanistic social sciences.
  • Commitment to promoting and maintaining a collegial, collaborative work environment.

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 Associate.  We will consider each response carefully, but contact only those individuals we feel are most qualified for the position.