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Career Story: Deputy Director Of A Grantmaking Foundation

Deputy Director Of A Grantmaking Foundation

Job Title: Deputy Director Of Grantmaking Foundation

Type of Company: I work for a nonprofit, grantmaking foundation that gives money to nonprofit organizations working on environment, human rights, reproductive health and job opportunities.

Education: BA in Chinese, UMass Amherst

Previous Experience: I worked as administrator of a small family foundation.

Job Tasks: I am the deputy director of a grantmaking foundation. I wear a few different hats: (1) I handle the foundation's finances, including paying grants and bills, tracking investments and tracking grantmaking using a specialized computer software package; (2) I evaluate and recommend grants to nonprofit organizations seeking support for their work; and (3) I work with the foundation's executive director to determine the foundation's direction and strategy.

In a typical day, I spend a good amount of time reading and responding to email messages from prospective grantees, some with questions about whether their work fits into the foundation's guidelines and some with specific questions about when and how to apply for funding. I also read and respond to email messages about the foundation's operations, specifically about bills to be paid and investments.

I spend a fair amount of time on the phone answering questions about the foundation's program guidelines or investments or payroll or bills to be paid. A few times a week I meet with grantees (people from organizations that receive money from our foundation) or prospective grantees, learning about the work that they do. From these meetings and written proposals that the organizations submit to us, I consider whether the work fits the foundation's guidelines and whether they are doing good work effectively.

Four times a year, I write up descriptions of this work that are then presented to the foundation's board of directors, which then either approves or declines to provide funding for the organization's work.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of the job are: the ability to help organizations doing work that I admire by helping them receive financial support; meeting with dedicated and enthusiastic people from grantee organizations who are doing amazing work to make the world a better place; and the wide variety of the things that I do on a day-to-day basis.

The worst part of the job is that I have to tell many people that we are not able to provide financial support for their work.

Job Tips:
1. Develop the ability to think critically. You will need to be able to read a wide variety of publications and then synthesize what you learn and write a concise summary. Writing ability is very important.

2. Get a college degree, and possibly an advanced degree in a topic that interests you.

3. Work in a nonprofit organization in a field that interests you and get experience in that field--that will make you more attractive to potential foundation employers.

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