Climate Program Assistant (BF)

About the Barr Foundation

The Barr Foundation’s mission is to invest in human, natural, and creative potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts. As stewards, Barr nurtures and enhances vital community assets. As catalysts, the Foundation cultivates and advances the breakthrough ideas that will shape our collective future. Barr focuses on achieving impact as a constructive partner, willing to exercise leadership.

Based in Boston, the Foundation focuses regionally, and selectively engages nationally, working in partnership with nonprofits, foundations, the public sector, and civic and business leaders to elevate the arts and creative expression, advance solutions for climate change, and expand educational opportunity. Barr is one of the largest private foundations in New England with assets of more than $1.7 billion and a 2018 grantmaking budget of $85 million.

A set of core values defined by the Barr Foundation’s founding trustees expresses beliefs about what constitutes effective philanthropy and guides how the Foundation carries out its philanthropic mission. The Foundation is committed to strive for excellence, act with humility, adopt a long-term perspective, and embrace risk. Additionally, while each program is guided by distinct priorities and goals, Barr embraces a common set of approaches in all aspects of its work, namely flexibility and nimbleness, a broad range of tools, knowledge and learning, openness and transparency, and active collaboration.

For more information on the Barr Foundation, please visit:

Barr’s Climate Program

Since its inception, the Barr Foundation has prioritized the environment as a principal area of funding, and in 2010 focused this funding on the monumental problem of climate change. The Climate Program has three focus areas: Clean Energy, Mobility, and Climate Resilience. We believe that while climate change is a global challenge, cities and states have become vital agents of change, and by focusing on these three focus areas, we can play an important role in helping to catalyze and advance solutions. 

Program Assistant Position

The Barr Foundation is seeking a program assistant to provide administrative and other support to the Climate Team, including two co-directors, two program officers, and a new program officer to be hired in the first quarter of 2018. The co-directors manage the grantmaking, external relationships, research, and grantee convenings that help advance the Foundation’s climate change objectives. This position reports to the Climate co-directors.

The ideal candidate must be highly organized and self-motivated, with attention to detail and the ability to prioritize workload. Proven writing, computer, and interpersonal skills to manage relationships with a broad range of people and organizations are essential. This is a full-time position with a generous benefits package.

Key Responsibilities

  • Maintain calendar and schedule for the Climate co-directors;
  • Answer and screen telephone calls and handle routine emails and other correspondence, including inquiries about grant proposals and invitations to events;
  • Provide co-directors with preparatory materials for meetings and other scheduled activities;
  • Monitor and support the Climate Team to meet program deadlines and internal processes;
  • Prepare agendas and draft climate-related materials for meetings with trustees, president, and external partners;
  • Complete draft reports and materials for quarterly trustee meetings;
  • Draft and manage routine grantee and other correspondence and proofread reports and other documents for grammar and spelling;
  • Provide other support as needed, such as handling expense reports for the co-directors, receiving visitors, and taking notes at internal and other meetings;
  • Conduct internet and other research to support program areas;
  • Work closely with the Grants Management Team to ensure potential and current Climate grant information is accurately inputted and tracked in the grants database;
  • Generate contracts, and process invoices and reimbursements for the Climate Team;
  • Handle travel arrangements for the Climate Team.


  • Excellent communications skills, including superior telephone etiquette and proven writing and editing ability, with a focus on accuracy;
  • Demonstrated ability to identify, collect, organize, and synthesize information from a variety of data sources;
  • Professional demeanor and attitude and strong interpersonal skills;
  • Ability to work well individually, as part of a team, and with diverse communities;
  • Self-motivated, with strong problem-solving abilities and a strong attention to detail;
  • Exceptional organizational skills; demonstrated ability to handle multiple tasks simultaneously; and ability to meet deadlines;
  • Proficiency with the Microsoft Office Suite, social media, and other technology; experience with database systems is a plus.
  • Knowledge of or willingness to learn about program areas;
  • Reliability and punctuality;
  • Absolute discretion and confidentiality;
  • 2-4 years of full-time administrative work experience, experience in nonprofit or philanthropic organizations is a plus;
  • A bachelor’s degree is a plus.

How to Apply

Please visit to apply for this position. Only applications submitted via this link will be considered. The deadline to submit applications is February 23, 2018.

All inquiries may be directed in confidence to: Denise Gillespie, director of Human Resources, via email

at: [email protected].

No phone calls, please.

Please note that the Barr Foundation will not cover relocation costs for this position.

The Barr Foundation is an equal opportunity employer and seeks a diverse pool of candidates in this search. This position offers a competitive salary with excellent benefits.

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