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Explore Company PosterRichard King Mellon Foundation
Program Officer

The Richard King Mellon Foundation, based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, seeks to recruit a dynamic new Program Officer who will support our Social-Impact Investment (SII) Program.


For more than 73 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.

The Richard King Mellon Foundation is the largest foundation in southwestern Pennsylvania, and one of the 50 largest in the world. The Foundation’s 2020 year-end endowment was $3.1 billion, and its Trustees in 2020 awarded grants and Program Related Investments totaling $130 million. The Foundation focuses primarily on serving Southwestern Pennsylvania with a strategic interest in advancing regional economic development, economic mobility, and health and well-being 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 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 3 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.

In January 2021, the Foundation released its new ten-year strategic plan to invest more than $1.2 billion across all its programs over the next decade. You can view a webinar about the Foundation’s plan here.

Program Officer

The Program Officer is a new position in the Foundation. The Foundation's SII program enables mission-driven companies to secure the risk capital, networks, and resources they need to develop products, deploy services, and address societal issues at the individual and community level. The Foundation primarily use Program-Related Investments (PRIs) to provide funding to private sector partners. It is cross-functional and undergirds the Economic Development, Economic Mobility, Health and Well-Being, and Conservation programs.

To address the most vexing social problems facing the region, the Foundation recently launched a pitch competition to help jumpstart the SII program.  The winners will be determined, not just by their prospects to make money for investors, but by their potential to improve economic development, economic mobility or health and well-being for the people of Southwestern Pennsylvania; or to enhance the conservation of environmentally precious lands across the United States. The Foundation expects to invest at least $50 million in SII over the next 10 years.

The new Program Officer should possess business and analytical capabilities to advance an integrated investing strategy that treats social-impact investments as a substantial and inseparable part of the program strategy. He/she should bring an engaging capacity and excitement to reach out beyond the nonprofit universe, to work with a new set of partners in the private sector to leverage for-profit markets to achieve social objectives.

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

  • Work closely with the foundation staff to manage Program Related Investments.

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

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

  • Support the Social-Impact Pitch Competition, including the management of relationships with judges, speakers, mentors, and national and local event partners.

  • Identify and connect with private, public, and nonprofit sector investors who are aligned with the Foundation’s social-impact goals.

  • 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:

  • Commitment to the values and mission of the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

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

  • Experience with investment, banking, or consulting experience. Strong preference will be given to candidates with social-impact investing experience either as an investor or entrepreneur.

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

  • Mature, responsible, and entrepreneurial qualities to complement the existing team.

  • Highly analytical mindset with the ability to analyze businesses, growth strategies, and the impact outcomes of investment opportunities.

  • Clear, concise writing skills with an ability to distill complex topics

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

  • 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 RKMF Foundation/Social Investment 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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