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Richard King Mellon Foundation
Senior Program Associate

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


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.

Senior Program Associate

Many individuals in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties are unable to live a healthy life due to conditions in their communities, lack of integration across sectors, and differences in the availability of quality supports and services. Everyone in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties, particularly the most vulnerable should have the opportunity to live a healthy life. Healthy people are not merely free of disease or sickness, but also thrive physically, socially, and emotionally. The Foundation will support efforts that strive to improve outcomes for individuals and communities in three priority areas.

  • Healthy People –

    •  Chronic Conditions- Chronic Conditions are physical conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing medical attention and/or limit activities of daily living. Chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, are the leading causes of death in the United States and a leading driver of health-care costs. 

    • Mental and Behavioral Health – Mental and behavioral health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being, as well as actions that impact health, such as substance use, drinking, and smoking. Mental and behavioral health helps determine how individuals handle stress, relate to others, and make choices, and lays the foundation for our ability to thrive. 

    • Maternal and Child Health - Maternal and child health issues result from the accumulation of risk factors before, during, and after pregnancy. The health and well-being of mothers, infants, and children determine the health of the next generation, and can help predict future public health challenges for families, communities, and the health care system.

  • Healthy Communities –

    • Healthy Eating - Healthy communities enable all individuals to access healthy food, especially those in geographic or economic circumstances that make access to healthy food options challenging. 

    • Public Places and Open Spaces - Public places and open spaces, such as parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, and open spaces for community gatherings, allow for individuals to engage in important health promotion activities such as physical activity. 

    • Safe and Stable Homes – Homes that are affordable and free of violence provide stability, prevent homelessness, and reduce stress, which positively impact mental and physical health. 

    • Clean Environments - Homes and neighborhoods that are free of air pollution, environmental toxins, and allergens prevent developmental issues and health conditions.

  • Advancing Science –

    • Basic Research - Basic research fills in the knowledge we do not yet have around the causes of poor health and the relationship between the environment and health and well-being. 

    • Applied Research and Evaluation - Applied research and evaluation seek to answer questions in the real world by proposing, testing, assessing, and then improving cutting edge or novel treatments, practices, or other solutions in our community. 

    • Research Translation and Dissemination - Dissemination and adoption of data-informed practices, programs, and policies ensure that the solutions to health problems in our community are not only grounded in research, but also position us to have the greatest degree of impact on the ability of individuals to lead a healthy life. 

    • Identification and Response to Emerging Issues - Unforeseen global events, new technologies, scientific discoveries and changes in our economy continually shape our lives and communities. Challenges such as these can profoundly impact numerous aspects of health and well-being. Efforts to identify and respond to emerging issues facilitates collaboration and rapid response.

The new Senior Program Associate will help facilitate the impact of the Foundation through interaction with public, private, and other civic leaders. The Senior Program Associate 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 mobility, and conservation issues. The Senior Program Associate should also 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 our health and well-being objectives.

Work closely with the Foundation staff to manage grant projects. 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 Senior Program Associate should possess the following ideal set of professional qualifications and personal attributes:

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

  • Ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas.

  • Commitment to exploring partnerships with the private sector and the use of technology to address issues at scale.

  • 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.

  • Demonstrated ability to synthesize, summarize, and analyze information.

  • Ability to travel nationally to conduct project site visits.

  • A minimum of 10 years professional experience.  

  • A Bachelor’s Degree required, and an advanced degree preferred, with a demonstrated capacity to advance programs and initiatives aligned with the Foundation’s Health and Well-Being priorities

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


The Richard King Mellon 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/SPA HWB in the subject line. No phone inquiries please.

The Richard King Mellon Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

All correspondence will remain confidential.


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