Program Assistant for Policy and Advocacy – Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – Washington, DC

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people-especially those with the fewest resources-have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Sue Desmond-Hellmann and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.

The foundation’s U.S. Program works with a range of partners toward greater opportunity for all Americans, largely through the attainment of secondary and postsecondary education. By making college and other forms of education both accessible to and successful for all, we hope to help break the intergenerational cycle of poverty that prevents families and communities from opportunities to reach their full potential. Within the U.S. Program, the Policy & Advocacy Team (USPA) works to advance these goals, with a particular focus on developing policy, finance and advocacy strategies and grants to support the scaling and sustainability of the foundation’s work. The team also manages a range of large, visible, and inter-related policy grantees working on complementary issues, requiring considerable political and policy sophistication.

The Program Assistant (PA) is a key member of the United States (USP) team, and provides a wide and varied range of administrative and organizational support to the team. Efficiency, attention to detail, flexibility and good judgment to ensure smooth operations of the team are critical in this role. Primary responsibilities include:

Provides a wide variety of administrative support including complex calendar management, event planning, document creation, and organization and maintenance of electronic files including:
– Scheduling a high volume of appointments and meetings, managing complex calendars, and making occasional travel arrangements.
– Maintaining an organized system of tracking, monitoring, and prioritizing tasks.
– Assistance in scheduling and planning for events, such as meetings, conferences, and presentations, which may include coordinating arrangements for participants, handling logistics, preparing and disseminating materials.
– Assist with group projects such as gathering/compiling data, performing research, synthesizing information, formatting materials for presentations using PowerPoint, Word, and Excel.
– Creating, updating and/or maintaining organized files and records.
– Compilation and processing expense reports, reimbursements, and check requests, accurately and timely.
– Knowledge of project management methodology and approaches. Skilled in applying methodology in an administrative role.
– Maintain group SharePoint site.

Provides communications support and assistance to ensure timely responses to inquiries including:
– Acting as liaison for team with internal and external partners, answering questions and routing requests appropriately.
– Taking and distributing minutes of meetings.
– Working proactively and taking initiative to support the varying needs of the team.

Works on special projects as needed; may include conducting basic research and analysis of data to respond to requests.

Provides administrative support to multiple individuals on the team, recognizing that differentiated support is appropriate.


– A minimum of four years’ work experience in an office setting, preferably in an administrative role for a complex and fast-paced organization, interacting intensively with internal and external contacts. Equivalent experience will be considered. Experience supporting senior team members preferred.
– Bachelor’s degree is preferred.
– Experience setting priorities and meeting deadlines while balancing the needs of providing support for multiple individuals, including calendar management, travel arrangements, and event planning coordination.
– Excellent oral and written communication skills in an environment requiring diplomacy and good judgment in managing interactions with individuals at all levels inside and outside an organization.
– Demonstrated effectiveness meeting deadlines in a role requiring continual attention to detail in composing, typing, and proofing materials.
– Experience establishing organizational systems to improve efficiency and functioning in a changing environment.
– Demonstrated proficiency with MSWord, Outlook, Excel, Visio and PowerPoint is required. MS SharePoint experience strongly preferred.
– Experience in learning and mastering new software applications.
– Demonstrated positive, collaborative approach to work, including a commitment to client-service and problem solving.
– Must have the ability to work with peer program assistants in a team environment.
– Must have a sense of humor and work well within a fast-paced team.

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.



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