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Richard King Mellon Foundation
Program Officer

Explore Company PosterThe Richard King Mellon Foundation, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, seeks to recruit a new Program Officer.


For more than 72 years the Richard King Mellon Foundation has invested in the competitive future and quality of life in Southwestern Pennsylvania, and in the protection, preservation, and restoration of America’s environmental heritage.

The Foundation was created in 1947 by Richard King Mellon (1899 – 1970), president and chairman of Mellon Bank, a conservationist and leading figure in the financial and civic life of Pennsylvania. Following his service in World War II, General Mellon had recently returned home to catalyze the nationally recognized Pittsburgh Renaissance, a groundbreaking public-private partnership for urban revitalization. As a banker and director of major corporations, he envisioned philanthropy as an investment and partnership to improve the city and region where he worked and lived. As a lifelong outdoorsman and sportsman, he, along with his wife, Constance Prosser Mellon, had an equally strong commitment to preserving wildlife habitat and the natural world. Mrs. Mellon served as chair of the Foundation from 1947 until her death in 1980.

With assets of approximately $2.6 billion and annual grants and social impact investments of $125 million, the Richard King Mellon Foundation embodies the vision of its founders – to primarily serve Southwestern Pennsylvania with a strategic interest in advancing regional economic development, education, and human services improvements for those most at risk in society. The Foundation has demonstrated the value of partnering with other public and private sector leaders rather than solely underwriting the entire cost of projects. The Trustees believe that this policy allows the Foundation’s grants to benefit the largest number of people. The Foundation has supported projects that strengthen Pittsburgh’s urban core by diversifying downtown housing, encouraging good riverfront usage, and creating or maintaining open spaces within the city. The Foundation also contributes to a variety of endeavors to stimulate business development, to promote economic health in rural areas, to leverage the economic impact of regional health care, education and cultural assets, and to attract and retain talented people to Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Richard King Mellon Foundation has also made a legacy commitment to the support of a broad range of strategic conservation activities regionally and nationally. Often working in partnership with government agencies and conservation organizations, the Foundation has ensured the protection of more than 4 million acres of land at sites in all 50 states. The Foundation has also supported the application of sound biodiversity science to address critical wildlife habitat and other conservation activities in our nation.

Program Officer

The Program Officer is a new position within the Foundation. The Program Officer will help facilitate the impact of the Foundation through interaction with public, private, and other civic leaders. The Program Officer should be an individual who inspires trust and who is dedicated to advancing the Foundation’s mission to address critical civic, cultural, human service, education, economic development, conservation. The Program Officer must have the presence, grace, and humility to work effectively and with a diverse range of people.

The Program Officer will advance the Foundation’s conservation portfolio. In addition to conservation grants in land, water and wildlife conservation, the Program Officer will support the Foundation’s work in advancing ecosystems as valuable capital assets that, when properly managed, sustain a flow of vital benefits over time. These benefits vary from place to place. But their value can be quantified — both in biophysical terms, such as how much groundwater is recharged or how clean the water is, and in economic terms, such as how trail development in both densely populated areas as well as rural environments supports ecotourism. The new Program Officer will help shape the Foundation’s work in recognizing the economic value of the natural land and water around us, as we do for physical, financial, or human capital. The Program Officer will facilitate a deepening understanding in which people and institutions recognize natural systems as capital assets, appreciate the vital roles they play in supporting human well-being, and incorporate the intrinsic and economic values of natural capital into decision making.

Working in a collaborative manner, the Program Officer will be asked to fulfill the following responsibilities:

  • Work closely with the foundation staff to manage grant projects.

  • Assist in managing a portfolio of social impact investments to support both nonprofit and for-profit organizations.

  • Assist in advancing new financial models for scaling conservation programs and investments through bonds, PRIs, and rural Opportunity Zones.

  • Conduct due diligence (i.e., review of proposals, site visits, grant reports).

  • Assist in the review and final preparation of materials and presentations for Trustee meetings.

  • Conduct research to explore ongoing community trends.

  • Participate in local and national educational events, training, site visits, and conferences on topics relating to the Foundation’s areas of grantmaking interests.

Professional Qualifications and Personal Attributes

The Program Officer should possess the following ideal set of professional qualifications and personal attributes:

  • Ability to work across the Foundation’s grant programs to support collaborative projects and shared strategic priorities.

  • Ability to work across the Foundation’s urban and rural funding geographies.

  • Ability to travel nationally to conduct project site visits.

  • Bachelor’s degree required in environment economics, environmental science or equivalent experience preferred. Advanced degree preferred.

  • A minimum of 10 years professional experience.

  • Background in finance, economics, databases/data mining, and capacity-building through past professional experience and/or education.

  • Team-oriented attitude, willing to perform work that might not be part of your primary duties.


The Foundation offers an excellent benefits package and a salary that is commensurate with experience.

How to Apply

Candidates should email a cover letter explaining how their background fits this position and a resume to: Daniel Sherman, President, Explore Company at resumes@explorecompany.com. Refer to Foundation/Conservation PO in the subject line. No phone inquiries please.

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.
All correspondence will remain confidential.


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