Position Description

Grants Manager
The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation

The Opportunity

The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation is seeking a Grants Manager for a new philanthropic foundation. Reporting to the Director of Finance and Operations (DFO), the Grants Manager will help develop and manage the technology forward systems that track all giving, and support the DFO in a series of complex and fast-moving endeavors that establish the platform and systems needed to manage a major grant-making entity.

The Foundation is still in its infancy. Because it is a startup, this is an evolving position that requires flexibility and a range of skills. The successful candidate will be a secure utility player who is comfortable in unstructured settings and playing many roles. Team spirit, curiosity, an appetite for startups, and a flexible mindset are musts, as are commitment to responsible stewardship, integrity, and discretion. The ideal candidate will love creating and managing systems that serve end users and advance the organization’s mission. S/he will have a front row seat on the design of a new grant-making foundation and learn a lot about philanthropy.

Organization Overview: A New Philanthropic Foundation

The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation is dedicated to improving lives and societies across the globe by supporting advancements in information technology and neuroscience research that benefit humanity.

The Foundation is the legacy of Patrick McGovern (1937-2014), an enterprising business leader, and tireless advocate for science. McGovern was the founder of International Data Group (IDG), a global research, investment, and publishing company that created nearly 300 information technology publications such as PCWorld, MacWorld and the Dummies guides. IDG chronicled the rise of digital technology and made it intelligible to millions, then moved beyond publishing to research and venture investing worldwide.

From his early childhood, McGovern was fascinated by information technology and neuro science. He dedicated his early life to these pursuits, eventually receiving a full scholarship to MIT, where he graduated with a degree in biophysics. Recognizing a need for applicable research on the emerging field of computers, McGovern founded IDG in 1964 and grew the company to span 97 countries across the globe. Throughout his career McGovern was a trailblazer and forward thinker. He was incredibly hard-working, a risk taker and an optimist who often told his employees “the best is yet to come.”

More on Patrick McGovern’s approach to leadership and the company’s history can be found in Future Forward: leadership Lessons from Patrick McGovern, the Visionary Who Circled the Globe and Built a Technology Empire, by Glenn Rifkin, McGraw Hill Education, 2019.

Inspired by his deep belief in the potential for information technology and neuroscience research to do good, McGovern left almost the entirety of his estate to fund the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation. The Foundation’s endowment is approximately $1.2 billion, and the Foundation will ramp up its giving over the next five years to make $50 million or more in annual grants.

The Foundation’s work is guided by six core values drawn from Patrick McGovern’s life and leadership:

• Remain dedicated to mission
• Respect human dignity
• Invest in people
• Strive for excellence
• Be responsive to change
• Always keep a “let’s try it” attitude.

We understand “respect human dignity“ to include diversity and inclusion, which are core values of the Foundation. It's important to us that our staff reflect the world we inhabit. We believe that diversity of lived experience, backgrounds, personality, thoughts and identities strengthens our work and makes us smarter. Respect for qualities and experiences that are different from our own and the ability to work well with all kinds of people are highly-valued management skills here. We seek candidates who demonstrate cultural humility, sensitivity, and willingness to learn, who respond vigorously to injustice and stand up for those who are mistreated.

The Foundation is governed by an active and deeply-engaged board that includes family members and independent trustees. This board has led the Foundation through its formation, setting the mission, managing the sale of the company that funded the Foundation, and making initial grants. Recently they hired the Foundation’s first employee, Executive Director Melinda Marble.

More information about the Foundation can be found on its website: www.mcgovern.org

The Grants Manager Role

The Role in Summary

The Grants Manager is the key interface between the Foundation and grant seekers. S/he is responsible for ensuring that organizations seeking funding are treated with respect, that their time is well-used as they apply for grants, and that staff get the information they need to analyze requests. S/he is also responsible for tracking and documenting every gift made by the Foundation. Both grantees and Foundation staff should view her as a vital partner.

Key Responsibilities


• Work with the DFO to design and implement a scalable, flexible grants management system (likely built on a Salesforce-based platform) that will track all giving; transition data from current Foundant system; help coordinate with financial management system.
• Participate in the design of a grant-making process, including gathering feedback from grant seekers that is accessible and user-friendly.


• Develop and maintain a database that tracks all philanthropic gifts. Maintain all grant- making records electronically.
• Track funding opportunities and collateral materials from initial inquiries through final decision.
• Provide guidance to grant seekers on the submission of application materials and schedule interviews and site visits with prospective grantees.
• Ensure that all grant compliance documents are on file for every gift made (e.g., proof of tax-exempt status, financial statements, and gift acknowledgement receipts).
• Work with DFO to ensure that accurate payments are processed for every gift.
• Prepare materials for, compile, and edit a quarterly trustee meeting “board book” that presents all grant proposals and covers other business of the Foundation.
• Attend trustee meetings and take minutes and detailed notes.
• When requested, work with audit team to access files and other records related to gifts.
• Schedule meetings for organizations with staff as needed.
• Compile and prepare funding histories and background materials for staff prior to site visits or meetings.
• Prepare appropriate correspondence regarding status of requests and funding decisions to grantees.
• Remind grantees of reporting requirements; gather reports.
• Review requests for recognition or public acknowledgement of gifts.
• Generate reports on grants made as requested.
• Stay abreast of changes to gifts tracking software; make recommendations for improving tracking systems.
• Manage subscriptions and professional association memberships.
• Develop checklists for the grant-making process, including the board book.
• Support the DFO with other administrative tasks as needed.

Qualifications and Experience

• Prior grants management experience required.
• Prior experience in administrative work is essential. Knowledge of foundations and grantmaking is preferred.
• A college degree is desirable.
• Must exhibit a motivated, proactive work ethic, with a strong focus on customer service internally and externally.
• Demonstrated numbers orientation with a high degree of accuracy and strong analytical skills.
• Significant experience working with information systems and database management. Experience with technology development preferred.
• Superior organizational skills, with attention to detail, commitment to follow-through, and the ability to multitask and set priorities.
• Precision and accuracy are key, as are developing and using checklists.
• Enjoys troubleshooting and problem solving.
• Excellent interpersonal communications skills and demonstrated diplomatic acumen; professional demeanor and attitude.
• Comfortable setting boundaries and being firm but kind with applicants when needed.
• Discreet and willing to protect the privacy of the trustees.
• Ability to work collegially in a team environment with a high level of flexibility.
• Proficiency in Google Office or similar tools; knowledge of Salesforce or other grants management system preferred.


Applications will be held in the strictest confidence. Due to the pace of this search, candidates are strongly encouraged to apply as soon as possible. To apply, please forward a resume and cover letter to E. Catlin Donnelly & Associates at mcgoverngrants@ecdonnelly.com

The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, military status, or disability, in any of its activities or operations. These activities include, but are not limited to, hiring and firing of staff, selection of volunteers and vendors, and grant-making.