Jobs Board

Senior Program 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, grant making 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 Senior Program Associate in the Humanities in Place program. Please note that Mellon maintains a hybrid work schedule, with three days/week in person at the Foundation’s Manhattan offices.

About the Program

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 Humanities in Place 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 Humanities in Place program. A selection of organizations, people, places, and ideas that inspire our work are featured on the Mellon website Public Places, Public Stories page.

Job Description

Reporting to the Program Director for Humanities in Place, the Senior Program Associate will participate in all aspects of the HiP grantmaking and strategy, and help lead and manage key program initiatives and operations. Among other responsibilities, the Senior Program Associate will help manage annual program budgeting and strategy assessments including the development of special program initiatives; screen, research, and evaluate grant inquiries and concept notes; develop relationships with potential grantees or partners and engage with them in meetings and in written correspondence; help to develop proposal documents; draft internal grant memoranda, presentations, and other documents; and support post-award management and evaluation for the program’s grants. The Senior Program Associate will also work closely with HiP staff to ensure the strategic alignment of all work within the program, track program spending, and assess progress and outcomes against program and Foundation strategic goals, and promote the program broadly in the field and in varied community contexts. While the HiP program team is small and flatter organizationally, the Senior Program Associate will have a key management and leadership role within the team.

This position includes independent work on on-going grantmaking activities, episodic or long-term research projects, collaborative work with colleagues around the Foundation, management of staff and complex projects, and administrative work in support of grantmaking out of the Humanities in Place program. This role will include travel several times per year for site visits and meetings nationwide, and the development of and participation in internal and external convenings and presentations. The work of the Senior Program Associate is highly detail-oriented and requires accuracy, the ability to anticipate outcomes, multi-tasking, effective time-management, flexibility, creativity, cool-headedness, precision, patience, efficiency, and the ability to work with both nuance and discretion.

Position Details:

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

• Conduct research, outreach, and coordination for program grantmaking and evaluation;
• Assist in the ongoing development, implementation, and tracking of strategic goals for the program area;
• Conduct research and make recommendations regarding the development of new grant initiatives and priorities and review and update existing programs including collaborations and external partnerships;
• Develop and manage program budget and strategic planning in partnership with the HiP Program Director and Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning and the Office of the Executive Vice President for Programs and Research staff;
• Collaborate with staff in other Foundation program areas and departments and consultants as required, including support for special projects and cross-program initiatives;
• Monitor and manage the program portfolio—including careful review of all narrative and financial reports—and evaluate requests from grantees for modifications to project scope, timeline, and budget;
• Manage the review and assessment of grant inquiries and any open/invited calls for proposals;
• Actively participate in the formulation of new proposals for funding, including advising grantees in preparation and revision of the narrative and financial components of proposals;
• Participate as needed in virtual and in-person meetings and site visits with current and potential grantees;
• Assist HiP staff with the drafting and editing of grant recommendations and other program-related materials for the Foundation’s leadership and Board of Trustees;
• Assist with planning and coordination of relevant meetings and events (including collecting background or briefing materials) as directed;
• Serve as a resource for grantees and support post-award management and relationships including reports, requests for modifications, extensions, and transfers;
• Stay abreast of current events and developments related to the program area, and draw connections to current and potential grant initiatives;
• Occasional travel for site visits with potential or current grantees and for program-related conferences or convenings;
• Represent the Foundation in external settings, including conferences, public meetings, and other engagements as assigned;
• Partner with HiP Program Director and staff, Communications staff, and consultants on public-facing materials about the program and its grantees;
• Assist HiP Program Director and Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Planning with the management and oversight of program staff and operations.

Mellon 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 $135,000-$175,000. 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 successful candidate will have background in philanthropy or the non-profit or government sectors with a focus on heritage, culture, public history, or place- or public realm-focused projects. Candidates with academic, institutional, or private sector backgrounds in the arts, design, urbanism, preservation, history, the social sciences, or similar humanities-based fields and with direct experience with community-oriented and social justice-focused work are also encouraged to apply. Candidates with multidisciplinary backgrounds and significant place- or cultural heritage-focused projects or programs experience are preferred. The candidate will be curious, thoughtful, highly motivated, energetic, collaborative, and congenial, have demonstrated field leadership or emerging leadership, well-developed written and oral communication skills, top-notch organizational acumen, and ability to work independently.

The ideal candidate would hold a bachelor’s degree, however, an advanced degree in humanities, social science, or built environment disciplines, or related fields or equivalent professional experience is preferred. Applicants should also 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;
• Demonstrated interest in and commitment to advancing social justice through work in the arts and humanities—and in public, community, or institutional spaces;
• Familiarity with practices related to public and community-focused projects and initiatives and an interest in community engagement and inclusion and with a strong sense of ethical practice and empathy;
• 6-8 years or more of relevant experience, including the ability to manage processes and complexity effectively;
• Demonstrated experience managing a team or collaborators on a project or program;
• Excellent analytical, oral, writing, interpersonal, and organizational skills with precise attention to detail, consistency, and care;
• Motivated, disciplined, and comfortable working both independently and collaboratively in a high-volume environment with multiple overlapping timelines;
• Commitment to a collegial work environment and to collaboration with colleagues in all the Foundation’s program areas;
• An awareness and thoughtfulness of the dynamics of personal and institutional agency, power, and privilege;
• Ability to read, understand, and develop organizational budgets;
• A high degree of competency in the MS Office suite; familiarity with web-based technologies and data visualization and analysis applications (, Power BI, etc.), or a willingness to learn and experiment is desirable;
• Experience with business-related travel and/or representing an organization at site visits, conferences, or convenings;
• Non-English language proficiency and a deep and longstanding connection to BIPOC and/or underrepresented communities is preferred.

How to Apply

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

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

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