Program Assistant

William H. Donner Foundation
  • Location
    Westchester County, New York
  • Sector
    Non Profit
  • Experience
    Early Career
  • Apply by
  • Posted
    Sep 18

Position description

The William H. Donner Foundation (WHDF) was established in 1962 and has granted widely over the past sixty years. With an endowment of about $220 million, the fourth and fifth generations of the Donner family are active participants in the Foundation, whose grants support a wide range of charitable activities, including social, community and educational initiatives, environment and wildlife preservation, and public policy research. WHDF’s sister organization, the Donner Canadian Foundation, is based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and grants to a wide variety of Canadian charities. The two foundations are managed by an Executive Director based in Toronto. More information about the Foundation’s history and granting can be found at

Position Description

The Program Assistant will provide administrative support to the program team, focused on the Foundation’s grant-making and day-to-day operations in the New York office. As an enthusiastic self-starter, the ideal candidate is highly organized and detailed-oriented. Equipped with strong administrative and technical skills, they can learn and implement the systems and procedures of the Foundation to ensure its efficient operation.

With a helpful, positive outlook and approach, the ideal candidate will exhibit the excellent interpersonal skills needed to support the Foundation’s Members, grantees, and grant-seekers throughout the granting process, and to effectively work with multiple stakeholders, including Board members, third-party service providers, and team members in both the Canadian and U.S. Foundations.   

Duties and Responsibilities


  • Support the program team in managing grant applications from invitation to completion of grant agreements, including supporting members through the grant research, selection, and decision-making process
  • Assist program team to verify charitable status of grantees, process grants, prepare grant agreements, and receive reports
  • Track and verify grants against budgets and administer grant payments under the leadership of the Director of Finance and Operations
  • Prepare annual granting statistics for Members and executive leadership  
  • Support program team in managing focus-area granting
  • Support program team in maintaining relationships with grantees and co-funders

Grant Management System (GMS) 

  • Input and maintain granting data in the Foundation’s new GMS (SmartSimple), which will be launched in the first quarter of 2024
  • Support future improvements in GMS functionality
  • Act as a resource to staff and applicants about GMS functionality (with IT support as needed)


  • Undertake operational procedures, e.g., contact database management, shared calendar maintenance, and monthly notifications
  • Support finance team with payroll/benefits administration, banking, and insurance-related duties
  • Assist accountants with accounts payable/receivable functions: track and file all invoices and expenses
  • Support audit processes, including providing grants and banking information requested by auditors
  • Support the preparation, production, and distribution of Members’ and Board reports and meeting materials, including materials for annual Members’ meeting
  • Oversee maintenance of office equipment and premises and liaise with building staff  
  • Answer general queries by phone and email; sort and distribute all internal and external mail
  • Support the coordination of committee and annual meetings


  • University degree in a related field; further specialization and/or advanced training in a relevant area an asset
  • Two to five years of administrative and/or grants management experience, with knowledge of the charitable, not-for-profit sector
  • Strong administrative and record-keeping skills
  • Knowledge of general office procedures and office equipment maintenance
  • Proficiency in Microsoft programs (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and database systems; experience with grants management systems an asset
  • Ability to quickly acquire competency in other office tools and the Foundation’s Grants Management System (SmartSimple), as well as to trouble-shoot software and technical issues
  • Excellent communication skills (oral and written) and ability to navigate relationships with a variety of stakeholders
  • Excellent time management skills and ability to multi-task and prioritize work duties
  • Excellent team collaboration skills and interest in working in a small team setting
  • Hospitable and welcoming presence towards Members, staff, and other stakeholders
  • Strong sense of discretion, confidentiality, and ethics
  • Ability to problem solve and execute on thoughtful solutions

Other Information

This is a full-time position based on a hybrid work model. WHDF is an equal opportunity employer that is committed to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace. The Foundation supports professional development activities for all team members.


Application instructions

To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to Rachel van Geest (Associate, TARIS Incorporated) by October 13, 2023.

TARIS provides advisory services to philanthropic and impact-oriented funders. Areas of expertise include strategic planning, human resource and operations management, fundraising and financial/social return on investment strategies.

Only candidates who are selected for interviews will be contacted.

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