The Mariam Assefa Fund launched in mid-2019 and is now looking to grow its team as its work expands in the U.S. and Canada. The Grant and Portfolio Manager will be a key member of the Mariam Assefa Fund team, leading the operational administration of a complex portfolio of grants, program-related investments, and other catalytic investments throughout the funding lifecycle. They will report to the Fund Senior Director and will work closely with programmatic members of the Fund team in the U.S. and Canada, WES Finance department, and key external partners (e.g., grantees, investees, legal counsel, financial auditors). The role will also have exposure to other members of WES’s Executive Team, as well as members of the WES Board of Directors.
This is a unique and exciting opportunity to help shape a new philanthropic fund from its inception, as well as develop and manage best-in-class philanthropic operational and administration practices that directly contribute to the Fund’s and its partners’ impact goals.
Duties included but not limited to:
1) Funding Management and Administration
- Develop and manage funding application processes and related workflows for a range of approaches, such as closed RFPs, open call for proposals, direct funding, and more, and types of funding (e.g., grants, program-related investments).
- Conduct legal, organizational, and financial due diligence on potential funding recipients in the U.S. and Canada to ensure application completeness, adherence with legal requirements and internal guidelines, and organizational and financial capacity. Note some activities will require close coordination with the Fund’ external legal counsel.
- Maintain all grant and investment-related information in relevant databases and tools (e.g., SurveyMonkey Apply, Salesforce).
- Partner closely with the Fund’s program colleagues on key aspects of the funding process, such as the development of funding solicitation materials (e.g., request for proposals) and the design of specific ideas sourcing approaches.
- Manage communication with funding applicants regarding required materials and the funding process, as well as serve as the primary point-of-contact for reporting, financial, and legal questions from grantees and investees post-award.
- Coordinate with internal WES teams (e.g., Finance) to ensure timely execution of key fund management and payment activities.
- Develop materials that enable decision-making on funding applications by the WES Fund Senior Director, WES Executive Director, and WES Fund Board Committee.
2) Data and Knowledge Management
- Prepare analyses and reporting on grant or investment-level and portfolio-level operational, financial, and impact metrics.
- Ensure the Mariam Assefa Fund’s has robust knowledge of existing and emerging philanthropic funding practices by conducting desk research, participating in conferences, and networking with peers.
- Codify learnings from the Fund’s experiences developing its funding approaches and processes and work with WES’ Communications team to disseminate these to the wider philanthropic sector.
- Serve as a thought partner and advisor to the Fund team, WES colleagues, and Fund grantees and investees and conduct trainings as needed.
3) Ad-Hoc Organizational Support
- Manage relationships with external consultants and strategic advisors that contribute to the Fund’s funding selection, due diligence, and administration processes.
- Manage undergraduate and/or graduate interns as needed.
- Occasional travel to WES’ Toronto office, to conduct due diligence on funding applicants, and/or to attend conferences.
The Ideal Candidate will:
- Have a high degree of comfort with rapidly changing, ambiguous contexts and an ability to help craft a clear path forward in these environments.
- Bring both an entrepreneurial mindset to generate new approaches, spot opportunities, and initiate action, and a strategic mindset to spot critical issues, leverage points, and required choices.
- Have a deep-rooted intellectual curiosity and openness to diverse ideas and perspectives.
- Thrive an environment that values transparency, collaboration, and an orientation for results.
- Bring a “can-do” attitude and have a willingness to stretch up and down in their role as the Fund’s needs evolve.
- Build informal working relationships, quickly establish credibility in new areas of work, and mobilize people at all levels towards collaborative goals (including more senior colleagues and external partners).
- A Bachelor’s degree in public policy, economics, business, or other relevant degree with a minimum of 5 years of relevant work experience required.
- Demonstrated track record of managing post-award activities at a funder or other relevant entity; experience supporting the administration of program-related investments is also strongly preferred.
- Experience supporting funding activities in multiple geographic contexts, particularly the U.S. and Canada.
- Robust qualitative and quantitative analysis skills and ability to craft compelling data-driven narratives.
- Strong client-service orientation and ability to provide guidance and support to a range of internal and external stakeholders.
- Track record of delivering high-quality, accurate work in a fast-paced environment, and exceptional project management skills.
- Understanding of existing and emerging philanthropic funding approaches, particularly those that advance more equitable and inclusive funding practices, and ability to identify and adapt approaches to best support the Fund’s goals.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills to convey complex information appropriately to stakeholders with different backgrounds and needs.
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office suite, especially Word, Excel and PowerPoint.