Jobs Board

Research Associate: Humanities in Place (Mellon Foundation)

Company Name

Mellon Foundation

Company City

New York

Company State


Job Location

New York, NY

Company Information

The Mellon Foundation (“Foundation”) is a not-for-profit, grantmaking organization that believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom to be found there.  Through its grants, the Foundation seeks to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive.   The Foundation makes grants in four core program areas—Higher Learning, Public Knowledge, Arts and Culture, and Humanities in Place—and through its signature Presidential Initiatives. The Foundation seeks a Research Associate in the Humanities in Place program.

Job Description


Humanities in Place (HiP) supports a fuller, more complex telling of American histories and lived experiences by deepening the range of how and where our stories are told and by bringing a wider variety of voices into the public dialogue. Working with media, heritage and public spaces, history museums and other institutions, and conveners of shared experiences—including the digital or ephemeral—we strive to expand the public expression of the histories that have made us and the values we hold. Our program works across and within diverse communities, encouraging bold, innovative rethinking of past practice, as well as visionary new approaches for how to collectively understand, uplift, and celebrate more complete stories about who we are.

Three interconnected strategies guide Mellon’s HiP grantmaking:

Keep and Shape Our Places

Resource projects, initiatives, and infrastructure to better identify, document, create, and care for our places; and support innovative ideas and actions that design a more just present and future landscape—in community with one another and in society.

Evolve our Institutions

Catalyze initiatives and programs that support the evolution and sustainability of institutions (e.g., civic, cultural, educational, or community) focused on advancing social justice through place-based approaches.

Promote Greater Engagement and Understanding

Support projects and programs with a place-based focus that promote greater access, interaction, and exchange of stories and experiences toward a fuller appreciation and understanding of a wider variety of our histories, narratives, and expression.

Please visit the Foundation’s grants database to see all of the grants made through the HiP program. A selection of organizations, people, places, and ideas that inspire our work are featured on the Mellon website Public Places, Public Stories page.


Reporting to the Program Director for HiP, and in close collaboration with the HiP program and Executive Vice President for Programs and Research staff, the Research Associate will provide programmatic, logistical, and research support to programmatic work in HiP. The Research Associate prepares research-based evaluative and analytical reports at the request of the Program Director; they will also assist in the review and preparation of materials in the grantmaking process. The Research Associate is expected to work approximately 75% of the time on research activities and 25% in the direct grantmaking support duties of other HiP program staff. During certain times of the year, or year-to-year, the percentage of work in either area may vary.  This role will include occasional travel for site visits and research, meetings, and programs nationwide.

Responsibilities include providing concise analytical reports that are carefully researched, written, and illustrated, focusing on the evaluation of past and current grantmaking initiatives, providing information in support of prospective future initiatives, and serving the assessment and research needs of the Foundation’s Program Officers and Executive Officers.

Position Details:

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

  • Prepare carefully developed, elegantly crafted, concisely written, and clearly illustrated analytical and evaluative reports as needed, and in support of the HiP program’s grantmaking efforts;
  • Review and research unsolicited inquiries and prospective grants for discussion with the HiP program team;
  • Conduct research in connection with past, current, and new program grantmaking, initiatives, and strategies;
  • Prepare briefing materials and reports for the HiP Program Director, Foundation Vice President, President, and key staff, as assigned;
  • Lead and develop complex research and content development work including reports, presentations, articles and papers, related materials for the HiP Program Director and key staff for internal and external audiences and platforms;
  • Support and coordinate special research projects for grantmaking work and other initiatives for HiP and across the Foundation’s program areas, Vice President’s and President’s Offices, and other Foundation departments;
  • Develop and coordinate research, planning, content, and arrangements for on- and off-site visits, meetings, and programs;
  • Manage prospective grants from first receipt to presentation to the Foundation Officers and Board of Trustees, to post-award management, including their tracking and management in Fluxx online grant portal, and communicate with grantees as directed about the progress of their proposals and grant activities;
  • Monitor and carefully review grant reports and requests for modifications, extensions, and transfers, correspond with grantees about deficiencies, alert program colleagues to unresolved difficulties, and take appropriate actions;
  • Identify the need for grant modifications and no-cost extensions, and facilitate the modification approval process by providing instructions to the grantee, reviewing request materials, and updating relevant information in Fluxx;
  • Participate in meetings with current and potential grantees; take notes and maintain notes and files on grant and potential grant activities;
  • 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;
  • Keep grant files in the Foundation’s file management system up to date; resolve inconsistencies;
  • Undertake general office and grant-related work, such as electronic filing, maintaining program records, preparing correspondence, responding to requests for information, scheduling, etc.;
  • Work with external consultants and evaluators as needed.

The Mellon Foundation offers a generous total reward package that provides base salary as well as a comprehensive benefits program. Mellon is committed to providing compensation that is competitive and equitable within the philanthropic sector. The estimated salary range for this role is $115,000-$130,000. The amount of pay offered will be determined by several 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.

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

Job Qualifications

The ideal candidate would hold a master’s degree, preferably in the arts, humanities, design, or policy, or in a related area. Candidates who have earned a PhD will also be considered. Five years of full-time experience in a fast-paced, high-volume office, institutional, public sector, or non-profit environment is preferred but not required. Applicants should possess:

  • Commitment to the Foundation’s mission, core values, and focus on social justice;
  • Demonstrated interest and knowledge in place-based or cultural heritage-focused programs, initiatives, and projects;
  • Non-English language proficiency and a deep and longstanding connection to BIPOC and/or underrepresented communities is preferred;
  • An awareness and thoughtfulness of the dynamics of personal and institutional agency, power, and privilege;
  • Superior research, oral, written, and visual communication skills; experience with business-related travel and/or participating in site visits, conferences, or convenings;
  • Excellent analytical, critical thinking, and organizational skills with precise attention to detail;
  • Ability to work with minimal direct supervision on multiple projects and matters at once, while being a committed team player;
  • Ability to read, understand, and develop organizational and project budgets;
  • An orientation toward self-starting, proactive anticipation of team needs, and creative problem solving;
  • Interest in lifelong learning and professional development;
  •  A high degree of competency in the MS Office and Adobe software; and
  •  Familiarity with web-based technologies such as data management, visualization, and analysis applications (,, Fluxx, Power BI, ArcGIS StoryMaps, etc.), or a willingness to learn and experiment is desirable.

How to Apply

Candidates should apply online by submitting (1) a thoughtful cover letter describing fit for the position, (2) samples of or links to any relevant research, and (3) a resume by March 8, 2024.

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

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