Special Assistant

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


The Ford Foundation (“Foundation”) BUILD program supports and develops robust, effective and sustainable organizations addressing inequality in the US and around the world. In the next six years, the Foundation will invest approximately $1Bn in a limited number of organizations, providing them with flexible operational and organizational strengthening support. 

By strengthening organizations that are core to social justice, the Foundation aims to ensure BUILD organizations have the stability it takes to drive change over the long term and in turn achieve greater impact. The Foundation also aims to shift power in the philanthropic sector by forging relationships with grantee partners that are characterized by trust, mutual candor, and deep partnership. BUILD grants support groundbreaking organizations in six thematic areas (Civic Engagement and Government; Creativity and Free Expression; Future of Workers; Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice; Natural Resources and Climate Change; and Technology and Society) and across 11 offices in the US, Latin America, Africa, and Asia. 

BUILD currently supports hundreds of visionary organizations and networks in the US and around the world. These organizations report that they are better able to plan and execute on their missions than before they received BUILD support. They can more easily innovate and respond to opportunities and threats. They are more financially stable, and more successful in leveraging support from other donors. Although it is too early to assess the long-term impact of these grants, an independent evaluation of the program reports that BUILD has contributed to numerous “wins,” including “successes in decarceration and police accountability, increases in local minimum wage levels, formal recognition of indigenous people’s land rights, and increases in public awareness about the impunity of governing elites.” 

In 2022 the BUILD team launched a second phase of the program, which builds upon current successes while striving for even more impact on inequality. At a time when the world is facing multiple intersecting crises—political, economic, social, and environmental—we are committed to ensuring that our grantee partners have the financial and human resources they need to enact transformational systems change. 


The BUILD team serves as a resource to Foundation staff and grantee partners alike, and provides thought leadership on organizational and network development both within and outside the Foundation, with an emphasis on supporting and strengthening organizations led by women and people of color. The Special Assistant will have the opportunity to support the next phase of a groundbreaking philanthropic model that is hugely influential in the field. 

The Special Assistant will manage day-to-day team operations, act as project manager for the Organizational Mapping Tool (OMT) process for grantees, and support the work of the program director. The Special Assistant will join a 11-person BUILD team, comprised of highly collaborative professionals. The team supports Foundation staff, grantee partners, and each other with a commitment to excellence and equity. Members strive to create a team culture of inclusion, shared power, and mutual respect and caring, with a healthy dose of joy and fun.  This position will report to the BUILD Director. This position is based in New York. 


Principal duties and responsibilities include but not limited to:

Team Administration 

  • Coordinate and facilitate weekly team meetings, quarterly retreats, and team-building activities. This includes: developing agendas, sourcing topics, scheduling, facilitating meetings, and logistics.

  • Working alongside two Program Assistants, serve as a member of an administrative support group for program leaders on the team, backing each other up and collaborating, as needed, on workflows, administrative tasks and projects.

  • Manage and monitor BUILD’s 25+ contracts as follows: 

    • Confirm budget source availability

    • Work with consultant/vendor and team members to develop scope of work, deliverables, terms, vendor info, etc. for contract

    • Process contracts in WorkDay and coordinate with Legal Department and consultants/vendors for contract preparation/review

    • Track & Monitor contracts, including reviewing invoices and confirming that deliverables have been met before submitting for payment, tracking payments to ensure compliance with contract terms, and keeping the Director updated as necessary

    • Forward invoices to Accounting for payment and track internally.

  • Working alongside other program support staff and events team, assist with in-person and virtual event planning, including meeting preparation, coordination, logistics, etc. 

  • Assist in onboarding new hires/temporary staff/consultants including logistical set-up, creation & update of internal team onboarding documents and orientation. Assist with the BUILD onboarding of new program staff throughout the Foundation.

  • Function as point-person and key contributor for the team’s Foundation facing communication including managing and regularly updating the team’s Fordify (intranet) page, BUILD Toolkit, Team Drives, and Ford’s public and collaboration sites. This includes providing curation of communication in coordination with BUILD Director & Team, Office of Strategy and Learning, and first-line technical support and escalation for colleagues; promoting information management best practices within the unit; facilitating collaboration within the team.

  • Support team in external communications efforts, including working with other funders who are interested in implementing BUILD-like approaches in their grantmaking. 

  • Function as the key records liaison for the team; establish and maintain appropriate Foundation operational records.

  • Pro-actively assess and request supplies or equipment for the unit as necessary.


Support to BUILD Director 

  • Provide thought partnership and support to BUILD Director. Manage all projects originating from the Build Director’s office including: communications with other funders; board meeting prep, presentations to Executive Leadership Team..

  • Work with BUILD Director and Grants Manager to prepare, manage and track team’s annual operational budget, including DCA (Direct Charitable Action) expenses.

  • Work with BUILD director to develop and track progress against annual team goals and workplan.

  • Pro-actively manage the BUILD Director’s appointments and scheduling needs and team calendars.  This may include heavy scheduling commitments for both internal and external meetings.  Assist to effectively prioritize, plan, and follow-up on action items from meetings..

  • For the BUILD Director’s work-related travel, develop domestic and international travel itineraries, related logistics, and follow up. Compile grant documents for regional office visits as needed.

  • Submit and track Concur requests as required, primarily (but not limited to) the expense reports related to the BUILD Director’s travel and ad hoc team expenses.

Organizational Mapping Tool (OMT) (capacity-assessment tool required for BUILD grantees) 

Serve as Project Manager for BUILD grantee organizational assessment program, the OMT. Major responsibilities include:

  • Create, maintain and update processes and documents as needed to create clear and efficient OMT system that facilitates a smooth and easy process from invite to final report for both grantees and consultants.  This includes facilitation of the translation process of key materials into the languages of our regional offices  

  • Work with OMT lead facilitators to update and maintain facilitator’s guide and other tools that help guide grantees, facilitators and program staff through the various stages of the OMT process.including annual facilitator index for facilitators based outside the US. 

  • Monitor the OMT inbox, provide support and answer emails from grantees, facilitators and Program Teams regarding a variety of topics ranging in complexity. 

  • Maintain & update information on the 155+ OMT consultants world-wide including, legal name and location  Track the number of OMTs each consultant has facilitated.

  • Support a partnership with the Resilience Initiative LeadersTrust Resource Hub to help grantees identify OMT facilitators 

  • Create OMT budget and track all expenses related to OMT program. Identify trends and provide management with projections for future spending. 

  • Solicit feedback from grantees, OMT facilitators, and program teams and make changes and updates to the program as needed.


  • Unyielding commitment to advancing racial equity, gender justice, disability justice, and economic justice, both through work and through interactions with colleagues and teammates. Lived experience in one or more of these areas is a plus.

  • Baccalaureate degree or equivalent work experience, plus a minimum of 3-5 years’ experience in an administrative and/or operations role in a fast-paced environment 

  • Detailed knowledge of and demonstrated proficiency in the use of office computer applications, particularly G Suite (Docs, Sheets, Slides)

  • Experience using a formal content or document management system, for example Google Drive

  • Excellent oral and written communications skills; ability to manage communications tactfully and professionally with a high attention to detail and accuracy

  • Highly functioning and experienced administrator, able to self-manage, prioritize work assignments across departments, manage multiple deadlines, and to represent the unit and the Foundation in any given environment.  Excellent, flexible and proactive planning skills, organizational skills, and attention to detail.

  • Proven ability to problem solve and follow up appropriately on process and procedural issues

  • Demonstrated ability to develop effective working relationships across all types of difference, both remotely and in person. Comfort working in a hybrid environment. 

  • High degree of emotional intelligence; excellent listening and communications skills. 

  • Curiosity, humility, openness to feedback, willingness to collaborate, and a sense of humor. 


This position is primarily a sedentary role. However, the person in this position may need to occasionally move about inside the office to liaise with internal staff, access files, office machinery and a copy machine/printer. Additionally, occasional travel will be expected when it is safe to travel, approximately 5%. Given that we work across different time zones, some non-traditional hours for early or late calls are an expectation of this role.

The Ford Foundation is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities in employment, its programs, and operations. As part of this commitment, the Foundation will ensure that persons with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodations. If a reasonable accommodation is needed to participate in the job application process, please contact, talentacquisitionhr@fordfoundation.org or call (212) 573-4627.

SALARY: Ford Foundation is committed to practicing salary transparency. The minimum salary for this position is US $88,000.

Deadline to apply: Submit your applications by September 13, 2022

Alignment to Culture and Values

  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission and core values of equity, openness, collaboration, trust, accountability and urgency

  • Personal qualities of humility, capacity for self-reflection, and a sense of humor

  • Discretion and ability to handle confidential issues

  • Action-orientated and entrepreneurial self-starter who can work well independently and in teams


  • Hybrid Workplace and Flexible Work Arrangement policies

  • Medical and dental benefits for employee and immediate family on first day of work

  • Retirement savings account with matching company contributions of up to 13%

  • Three weeks’ paid vacation in first year of work; four weeks in subsequent years

  • Tuition Reimbursement

  • Office closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day

  • Professional development initiatives for growth

  • Generous parental leave (maternal and paternal) during new child’s first year (born into family or adopted)

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