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Surdna Foundation

Program Associate, Strong Local Economies Program

Surdna Foundation

The goal of the Strong Local Economies Program is to support the development of robust and sustainable economies that include a wide range of businesses and access to quality jobs. We aim to create opportunities for upward economic mobility among communities that have experienced historical economic barriers, including low-income people, communities of color, women, and immigrants. Our work is guided by a strong commitment to social justice and equity.

Overview and Responsibilities:

The Strong Local Economies Program Associate plays a key role in managing the day-to-day grantmaking activities of a four-person team composed of the Program Director, two Program Officers, and the Program Associate. The position combines program and administrative responsibilities with active engagement in grant making, relationship management, and internal/external communications. The Strong Local Economies program has three primary lines of work: Business Development and Acceleration; Equitable Economic Development, and Job Quality and Career Pathways. In addition, the program supports leadership development, communications and capacity building in the field. It is assumed that the Program Associate will develop an understanding of the various issues and fields at the center of the program strategy and find an area of work that they want to explore and develop expertise in.

On the administrative side, the Program Associate's general functions include the following activities: scheduling and managing a high volume of meetings, calls, and travel for Strong Local Economies Program staff; actively tracking and managing grant proposals, progress reports and other related materials through Surdna's grants management database system; assembling and proofing grant materials; supporting the management of the program budget; providing technical support and counseling to grantees related to submission processes; managing contractors and consultants; organizing meetings and special events that support the program's goals; contributing to agendas and taking notes during team meetings; managing overall workflow of grantmaking, event planning, internal operations, etc. for the team; compiling expense reports for staff; facilitating payment of invoices and other matters related to accounts payable; answering office phones for one hour per week; light facilities maintenance; and supporting communication activities that range from story generation to content editing. In addition to program administration, the Program Associate will have opportunities to engage in substantive programmatic and grantmaking support to the portfolio through the following: review and response to letters of inquiry submitted by grant seekers; some due diligence tasks for potential grants; managing and writing grant recommendations for the program's small grants program; monitor the progress of existing grantees; and regular contribution of program-relevant news and policy developments. The Program Associate is also responsible for planning and coordinating special events. The Program Associate helps to ensure strong connections with Surdna's other programs, departments, foundation-wide initiatives, and outside partners. In addition, this position acts as a liaison between the Strong Local Economies program and the Office of Grants Management, Human Resources, and Finance departments, raising awareness of internal developments and outstanding issues that staff need to address. The Strong Local Economies Program Associate is also part of an administrative cohort at Surdna whose members provide support on foundation-wide projects and add staff capacity during peak periods. Overall this position offers exceptional access to the economic and community development field and to the practice of philanthropy. The position also provides occasional opportunities for travel to attend site visits and various conferences.

The ideal candidate is a detail oriented systems thinker with a commitment to social justice and equity. She or he is also able to manage several tasks simultaneously, and has the ability to gather information, draw conclusions, and make recommendations regarding complex problems and issues. The candidate should be able to manage a high volume of email traffic and be very adept at proofreading and editing large numbers of written documents in a timely fashion. The candidate should be a strong team player and place a high value on collaboration with peers and colleagues. The candidate should also possess a high level of initiative, and be comfortable working independently, as well as with peers and colleagues. The candidate will need to be comfortable directing team workflow, deadlines and sequencing from an administrative position - a critical skill to contribute for overall team success.

BA/BS degree required. A degree in a relevant field, interest in the nonprofit sector, and experience in the field of economic development/economic justice is highly preferred

Minimum of 2 years work experience, with previous office/administrative experience required

Previous nonprofit or foundation experience is preferred

Experience planning events is preferred

Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook

Excellent analytical thinking, writing, speaking and editing skills

A strong team-player, with a diplomatic, professional manner, and a sense of humor

Commitment to applying skills broadly within Surdna in support of the foundation’s mission

Please submit a cover letter and current resume via e-mail to:

PROFESSIONALS for NONPROFITS Contact: Philip Kraatz, Senior Recruiter Email:

About Organization:
The Surdna Foundation, a New York City-based family foundation, seeks a Program Associate for its Strong Local Economies Program. Founded by John E. Andrus in 1917, the Surdna Foundation has endowment assets of over $1 billion and an overall annual grantmaking/operations budget of $46 million. Surdna focuses in three grantmaking areas: Sustainable Environments, Strong Local Economies, and Thriving Cultures. The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States - communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies and thriving cultures. We seek to dismantle the structural barriers that limit opportunity for many, helping to create communities that are prosperous, culturally enriching, and sustainable. The work environment at Surdna is team-oriented, collegial, and one in which diversity is valued.



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