Program Assistant

Hiring Organization: 
Mellon Foundation
City and State: 
New York, NY

The Mellon 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) as well as out of the Office of the President.  The Foundation seeks a Program Assistant for the Public Knowledge program.

Public Knowledge supports those who steward and make available to the public the knowledge embodied in humanities scholarship and the cultural record.  We work with a range of university, public, and other local, national, and global libraries, archives, and presses that are foundational to the production, distribution, and preservation of this knowledge.  Our overall programmatic goal is to help build an informed, heterogenous, and civically engaged society.


Reporting to the Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning, the Program Assistant will provide grant management, administrative, and logistical support for the program. They will participate in various collective activities in Public Knowledge (PK) and at the Foundation, and on occasion may take on special assignments.

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.  Occasionally, the Program Assistant will interact directly with grantees who meet with program staff in virtual and in-person meetings.  The work is highly detail-oriented and requires 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:

  • Help monitor performance of a grant portfolio, including careful review of all narrative and financial reports, and consult on, and eventually process, grantee requests for modifications to project scope, timeline, and budget
  • Support Program Associates with report tracking and liaise with grantees as needed.
  • Support the Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning in program coordination, preparing calls for proposals, and other special projects, as assigned
  • Perform data entry for prospective proposals and collaborate with grants management to ensure grantee materials are complete
  • Assist in preparing grant recommendations for the Board of Trustees and other program-related materials (such as for convenings and grantee meetings)
  • Attend and participate in meetings with grantees as needed, and take notes to document discussions and decisions on current and potential grants
  • Serve as occasional back-up to the executive assistant in PK—which may include duties such as such as electronic filing, maintaining program records, preparing correspondence, assisting in event planning, and responding to scheduling and information requests
  • Contribute to the creation, updating, and management of documentation for PK’s pre-award and post-award processes, workflows, staff onboarding, and similar team operations
  • As needed, in collaboration with various program staff, gather information and conduct research regarding the development of new grant initiatives and the review of existing programs
  • Attend program staff meetings and other meetings at the Foundation as required
  • Participate in reviewing unsolicited inquiries for discussion with PK program staff


  • Bachelor’s degree.  Advanced coursework or degree in library and information science, digital humanities, or a related field is desirable
  • Demonstrated knowledge of or interest in organizational practices and field-wide trends in libraries, archives, and/or technology, particularly as it relates to social justice work in the arts and humanities
  • 2-3 years of experience working in a philanthropic, collecting, cultural heritage, or academic institution, or related experience
  • Excellent analytical, oral, writing, and organizational skills with precise attention to detail
  • Motivated, disciplined, and comfortable working both independently and collaboratively in a high-volume environment with multiple overlapping timelines
  • Flexibility, adaptability, and curiosity with the ability to anticipate and solve problems proactively.  Comfortable with occasional ambiguity about new or updated processes as they are refined.
  • Technologically savvy, with excellent capabilities throughout MS Office Suite. Facility with file-sharing platforms (such as Box), project management applications (such as, and grant management software (such as Fluxx) strongly preferred
  • Well-developed empathy, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal skills, including proven ability to work effectively on a team

Mellon Foundation is committed to providing compensation that is competitive and equitable within the philanthropic sector.  The estimated salary range for this role is $72,000-$85,000.  The amount of pay offered will be determined by a number of factors, including but not limited to qualifications, unique skills, credentials or experience that is expected to impact the candidate’s contribution to the role. We will also consider market data as well as the Foundation’s internal pay equity framework.  Mellon offers a generous total reward package that provides base salary as well as a comprehensive benefits program. 

Please note that Mellon maintains a hybrid work schedule, with three days/week in person at the Foundation’s Manhattan offices.

Candidates should apply by submitting a thoughtful cover letter describing fit for the position together with a resume and cover letter.

The Foundation will consider each response carefully, but only contact those individuals it believes are most qualified for the position.


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