Working In: Foundations

What does working at a foundation entail?


Working in a foundation, you will invest money to advance specific organizational goals. In particular, you will assess the merit of grant applications (organizations, institutions, or individuals) to further your foundation’s mission. The grant-making process involves identifying projects and organizations to fund, providing strategic assistance to grantees, and monitoring their progress toward their goals. On a day-to-day basis, you’ll likely meet with grantees and potential grantees, write about their work in informational briefings and strategic plans, and create systems to measure your grantees’ impact. Much of your work will revolve around managing relationships to help grantees and potential grantees navigate the grant-making process and maximize the impact of the foundation’s investment. This role takes strong analytical and communication skills, project management skills, and the ability to juggle a portfolio of relationships.


Examples of foundations

  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 
  • Annenberg Foundation
  • Annie E Casey Foundation


Sample roles in foundations 

Program Officer

  • Source talent and projects for high-impact investment opportunities.
  • Analyze a proposal’s market landscape, review business plans, assess return on investment to the sector, and create performance metrics for outputs and outcomes of effectiveness. 
  • Develop relationships with partners.


  • Writes papers outlining new policy ideas or describing the impact of existing policies and potential grants/grantees.
  • Assembles forums or other events designed to influence public opinion around a particular issues.
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