Program Associate

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

Posted: 8/19/2020

Position Type: Full-Time (Paid)

Function: Programs

Primary domain: Foundation/Grantmaking

City: New York

Postal code: 10120

State: New York

Country: United States

Organization Information:


Not Available


Mission statement:

About us:


The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) was founded in 2000 with one clear objective: finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease (PD) in our lifetime. The Foundation applies extraordinary scientific, business and media assets to this singular focus — thus creating a unique and dynamic organization. Since inception, MJFF has quickly grown into the largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s disease research worldwide, having funded more than $900 million in research projects in academic and industry labs worldwide to date. We exist to put ourselves out of business, so we deliberately hold no endowment or excessive reserves, but spend what we raise quickly and efficiently; 88 cents of every dollar spent goes directly to research programs. Today, the Foundation has about 160 full-time employees.

We work aggressively to support the entire Parkinson’s therapeutic development enterprise by de-risking specific therapeutic approaches and developing and distributing fieldwide tools, in order to seed and support a robust pipeline of new treatments for patients. Achieving our mission requires that we inspire the engagement of all Parkinson’s stakeholder groups — industry and academic researchers, clinicians, data scientists, policy makers, and most important, people and families living with Parkinson's. In service of this mission, the Marketing & Communications team works to leverage the Foundation’s tremendous research achievements and highly respected brand identity in service of our mission to speed better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s.


The Michael J. Fox Foundation strongly encourages applications from individuals who will contribute to our efforts to build and support a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce. Diversity may refer to characteristics including, but not limited to, race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic circumstance, geographic background, ability and disability, political ideology and age.


Position Details:

Job Description:

Job summary

This Program Associate position is focused on supporting the business process of the foundation’s funding portfolios by playing a unique role on the Research Programs team, defining and delivering strategic and tactical project management expertise. The Officer oversees and manages a portfolio of grants, ranging from one-year to multi-year projects, with individual researchers and investigators, universities, private-public partnerships, and multi-partner consortia. The Officer partners closely with the scientific staff to align delivery of scientific goals and business management procedures. The Officer acts as a primary liaison between external grantee partners and MJFF business partners.


Primary Roles and Responsibilities

  • Leverage project management experience to support successful development and ongoing management of complex, multi-stakeholder initiatives as they emerge and evolve
    • Design, develop, manage, and communicate funded project plans, schedules, and related budgets
    • Actively contribute to strategic planning discussions and process around funding priorities and planning.
    • Ensure MJFF best practices and rigorous project management methods are employed in developing and executing projects
  • Relationship management of external partners, which include other research funders, key opinion leaders, individual researchers and investigators, universities, and private-public partnerships.
    • Coordinate and manage MJFF project committees, working groups, and multi-partner consortia by working closely with internal and external collaborators to develop agendas, coordinate logistics, prepare materials for discussion, circulate minutes, chair meetings as needed and support execution of next steps.
  • Troubleshoot and problem solve as issues arise; exercise excellent decision-making and propose solutions for tough issues related to project administration
  • Serve as the business lead between MJFF science team and grantees to design and manage the operational lifecycle of a grant or funded project.
    • Oversee grants to individual Investigators, universities, and other specialized partners; manages relationship and project delivery lifecycle from proposal process through post-award to close out.
    • Lead and support program evaluation initiatives during and post-grant.
    • Acts as liaison between internal and external stakeholders with internal links in the grants management process, including research partnerships, finance, and other administrative support systems to ensure smooth operational management of the grants process.
    • Facilitate the processing for legal review and/or account setup of grant awards, contracts, supplements, and other award instruments
    • Provide support, narrative, and act as a resource of knowledge for issues occurring throughout the lifecycle of a grant.
    • Leverage grants management software and related applications to track and communicate project progress, and to drive continual process improvement initiatives.
    • Pro-actively communicate foundation processes and procedures to grantees, applicants and other external stakeholders.
  • Routinely review and recommend best practices to improve workflow and systems efficiencies.
  • Serve as back up and short-term absence coverage support for Officer colleagues.
  • Serve as educator, trainer, and partner for new hires and existing colleagues on context and understanding around program portfolios.
  • Engage in the wider Foundation-community on staff-driven projects and initiatives.


Ideal candidates will possess:

  • Experience in grants life-cycle administration and compliance for varying types of grants and grantees.
  • Demonstrated project management skills, with 2-3 years- experience supporting complex projects; knowledge of and experience in project management tools and methodologies strongly preferred
  • Excellent time management skill required; demonstrated ability to prioritize work at hand and manage multiple projects simultaneously
  • Ability to maintain exceptional attention to detail while considering how those details impact the big picture
  • Strong interpersonal and people management skills; ability to work productively both independently and as part of team, including reporting to cross-functional managers
  • Excellent written and verbal communication and presentation skills
  • Ability to work within a team in-person, remotely or a combination of these setting
  • Strong computer skills including use of standard software packages (e.g., Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.) and familiarity with additional technologies useful for team project management.
  • Working knowledge of grant management systems (e.g. Smart Simple, Blackbaud, etc.) preferred but not required
  • Willingness to adapt when necessary; comfortable with ambiguity and flexible to changing business dynamics and priorities


Not Specified


Commensurate with Experience

Posting Expiration Date:


How to Apply:

How to Apply

Interested candidates should submit a resume and thoughtful cover letter to this link. Submissions without cover letters will not be considered. We ask that you do not contact our staff directly and no phone inquiries please. Applicants who best match the position needs will be contacted.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation strongly encourages applications from individuals who will contribute to our efforts to build and support a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce. Diversity may refer to characteristics including, but not limited to, race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic circumstance, geographic background, ability and disability, political ideology and age.


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