Administrative Assistant: Job Description

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation ("Foundation") is a not-for-profit, grantmaking organization that seeks to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies.  It makes grants in five core program areas (higher education and scholarship in the humanities; arts and cultural heritage; diversity; scholarly communications; and international higher education and strategic projects).  The Foundation seeks an Administrative Assistant to provide administrative and logistical support in the international higher education and strategic projects program.


The Administrative Assistant will have an opportunity to acquire experience in the field of grantmaking and in working with higher education professionals.  We are seeking a thoughtful, strongly motivated, energetic, and congenial individual with well-developed communication competencies and exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail.  This position combines independent work on on-going program activities such as responding to calls and correspondence from grantees and prospective grantees, with collaborative work with colleagues on program planning, special projects, and significant organization of meetings and travel.  The work is detail oriented and the administrative assistant must be flexible and adaptable, as well as sensitive both to the basic priorities established by program staff and to imperatives stemming from the circumstances of the moment.

Position Details

The Administrative Assistant is a full-time position (37.5 hours per week) that reports to the Program Director, and also takes assignments from and works closely with the Program Associates in the International Higher Education and Strategic Projects (IHESP) department.  The person appointed to this position will have multiple responsibilities including, but not limited to the following functions:

Administrative Tasks (approximately 75%)

  • Providing core support to the Program Director in the administration of his responsibilities
  • Overall management of the Program Director's calendar, liaising with other Foundation administrators as required, prioritizing and resolving conflicts and anticipating the quarterly work cycles
  • Plan and coordinate arrangements for on and off site meetings for IHESP staff members
  • Manage extensive travel arrangements and prepare itineraries for the department staff
  • Open and sort mail for department
  • Prepare expense reports and track reimbursements for program staff and guests
  • Assist with mailings, photocopying, word processing, and administrative tasks
  • Assist with information gathering for the department
  • Track, catalogue, and file department resource materials
  • Arrange phone appointments and conference calls
  • Maintain files within the department and in the file room
  • Respond to general phone and written inquiries and requests for information
  • Manage department calendars
  • Act as primary point of contact for the program's visitors to the Foundation and provide appropriate hospitality
  • Coordinate, develop and distribute the agenda for the Program Staff meetings on behalf of the Program Director; ensure logistics, presentations and other visual aids are prepared in advance of the meeting, coordinating with guest presenters as required
  • Undertake such additional tasks as the needs of the Program Director and other program staff in the department may entail

Grant Management (approximately 25%)

  • Receive, track, and process incoming grant-related materials
  • Draft (using Foundation and department templates) and proofread award, declination, and payment letters, no-cost extension letters, and report reminders and other standard grantee correspondence
  • Track grant proposals and reports and send follow up requests to grantees for missing or additional information
  • Enter, update, and maintain current records for program contacts and grants in FLUXX, the Foundation’s grant management system

Required Skills and Experience

  • A bachelor's degree and a minimum of 2 years full-time experience in an office environment
  • Advanced skills in Microsoft Word and a proven facility with Excel and a records management system, such as FLUXX or Raiser's Edge
  • Ability to serve as a detail-oriented, self-motivated team player with a capacious understanding of program priorities and conventions, and the flexibility and wherewithal to prioritize a high volume of information
  • Excellent written, phone, and verbal communication skills; a good sense of the English language, coupled with competence in spelling, grammar, editing, and proofreading, as well as the capacity to draft letters
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills and the ability to interact in an efficient, courteous, and diplomatic manner with a wide variety of internal and external professionals
  • Strong organizational skills coupled with the ability to juggle multiple tasks, to anticipate and meet deadlines, and to respond to unanticipated problems
  • Enthusiasm, initiative, follow-through, precision, tact, discretion, good-will, a sense of humor, and commitment to collegiality
  • Genuine interest in IHESP programs and initiatives

Helpful attention to the need to maintain and improve the efficiency of day-to-day operations in the Foundation's offices is expected of all program staff members.  More generally, the Foundation expects of all its employees a broad awareness of events and problems in the world at large and an appreciation of its mission, in relation to that larger social context.

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer that offers a competitive salary, outstanding benefits, and excellent working conditions.

Contact Information

Qualified candidates should submit a resume, cover letter and salary requirements to:  We will consider each response carefully, but only contact those individuals we feel are most qualified for the position.