Jobs Board

Senior Program Associate, Public Knowledge (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 Public Knowledge 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

The Public Knowledge program supports leaders and organizations that steward and make available to the public the deep knowledge enabled by humanities scholarship and the cultural record. To this end, the program works with a range of public, academic, and other local, national, and global libraries, archives, and presses that are foundational to the production and distribution of cultural and scholarly knowledge. Public Knowledge also aims to promote a critical re-thinking of systems, tools, and technology for the humanities, in which redress and repair are as important as innovation.

Its program strategies are to:

● Preserve original sources in all formats, with a focus on materials from historically under- represented cultures and populations.
● Support the innovative maintenance and sustainability of technology, tools, and infrastructure for content related to the Foundation’s social justice orientation.
● Create and strengthen networks for the interdependent sharing of resources, services, and collections.

Recent examples of projects funded through the Public Knowledge program include “American Archive of Public Broadcasting,” “Building Financial Resilience in the Digital Humanities: South Asian American Digital Archive,” and “Federated Repositories of Accessible Materials for Higher Education II.”

Please visit the Foundation’s grants database to see all of the grants made through Public Knowledge.

Job Description

The role of the Senior Program Associate (SPA) in Public Knowledge is an opportunity to join a vibrant team focused on strategic problem-solving through the lens of social justice for the civic and cultural heritage communities, issues, and organizations relevant to the program’s priorities. Bringing ample field experience and expertise to their responsibilities, the SPA will work closely with program and Foundation staff, including executive and operations teams, on all aspects of the pre-award grantmaking process (and, in time, have command of aspects of post-award processes for consultative purposes). This position will report to the Program Director.

The SPA will work both in partnership with the Program Director and as a capable team member who pitches in on tasks and projects when applicable. They will have experience in the development and realization of strategy for initiatives and programmatic work. More specifically, as part of their role, the SPA will:

● Be a systems thinker, applying their career and cultural backgrounds to address challenges across the fields and disciplines in which the program is situated, including libraries, archives, data stewardship, technology and infrastructure development, digital and public humanities, and publishing.
● Understand deeply the ways in which digital technologies have transformed how knowledge in the humanities and arts is embodied, organized, shared, and preserved.
● Collaborate on key pre-award, strategic planning, and budget planning activities for the program—including, but not limited to:

○ Active engagement in the proposal review process with grantees
○ Development of summary and analytical documents for meetings of the board of trustees
○ Preparation of the program’s annual grantmaking budget
○ Co-management of grant inquiries and responses
○ Planning for convenings and site visits with grantee organizations and other relevant collaborators.

● Help synthesize relevant field research and internal research findings to advance program strategies and inform grantmaking directions.
● Draw on, and further build, a network of professional contacts for information sharing and potential grantmaking opportunities and collaborations.
● As needed, represent the program in the following contexts: internal and external projects, site visits, outward-facing program communications (e.g., website and newsletters), presentations, collaborations (e.g., cross-functional working groups), meetings, and events.

The role of the SPA encompasses work that is highly detail-oriented and requires accuracy, the ability to anticipate outcomes, and communicate clearly and persuasively. It calls for multi-tasking, flexibility, cool-headedness, precision, patience, efficiency, and discretion.

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

Candidate qualifications

● Master’s degree, or higher, in an academic discipline related to higher education, the humanities, libraries and archives, information technology, digital publishing, or a combination of these areas.
● Six to eight years of relevant experience, including experience with process management.
● Demonstrated effectiveness in outreach and relationship building across a range of communities.
● Exceptional ability to think nimbly, creatively, and critically, and to synthesize and connect ideas and practices—both verbally (i.e., in dialogue with colleagues and grantees and in presentations) and in written form—across the library, archives, digital scholarship, and publishing sectors and in connection with other Foundation priorities.
● Demonstrated experience with program or department operations, including budget management, strategy development, and program or initiative assessment.
● Familiarity with grant projects, either through grant management responsibilities (leading a grant, managing grant funds, or managing a grant project) or through roles in philanthropy.
● Experience working both independently and collaboratively in a high-volume environment with multiple overlapping timelines.
● Ability to be flexible, adaptable, and curious in anticipating and solving problems proactively. Comfortable with occasional ambiguity about new or updated processes as they are refined.
● Exceptional oral, written, and visual communication and presentation skills, including strong capabilities in public speaking and fielding questions.
● Well-developed empathy, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal skills, including proven ability to work effectively on a team.

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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