Julie Fry joined California Humanities as its President and CEO in 2015, where she provides leadership in every aspect of the organization in order to deepen and broaden its reach and impact in communities across the state through the public humanities. With staff, board, stakeholders and other community members, she has developed a new strategic framework that lays the groundwork for the next forty years. Previously, she served as a Program Officer for the Performing Arts Program at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, California. Julie joined the Hewlett Foundation in 2007 with over 20 years of arts and business experience. She managed a grantee portfolio of more than 140 nonprofit arts organizations, and led the Foundation’s efforts in making arts education accessible to the 6 million K-12 public school students in California through support for in-school program delivery, and policy and advocacy at the national, state and local levels. She is an active member of the grantmaking field across the country.
From 2003 to 2007, Julie was Associate Vice President, Fund Services at The San Diego Foundation, and the first director of The San Diego Foundation’s Arts & Culture Program, where she developed strategies to engage more donors and community members to support the arts in San Diego through research, community outreach events, and funding partnerships. With a Working Group of committed community leaders, Julie oversaw a planning process and outreach strategy to meet the most critical needs of San Diego’s arts nonprofits and develop effective grantmaking priorities. This included major research into regional cultural participation as well as arts education provision in San Diego County’s 42 school districts.
Before entering the philanthropy field, Julie was Director of Arts & Business Programs at the San Diego Performing Arts League from 2000 to 2003. There she expanded its Business Volunteers for the Arts and Technology for the Arts programs and established the Lawyers for the Arts, National Arts Marketing Project and OnBoard: Arts Board Development programs. From 1995 to 2000, she worked for the Business Arts Council in San Francisco and Business in the Arts: North West in Liverpool England, developing building arts and business partnerships and providing management consulting services to arts and culture nonprofits. Her business experience in the US and UK was focused on the financial services industry.
Julie is currently on the board of the California Alliance for Arts Education, the Advisory Committee of The Innovation Collaborative, and the Steering Committee of the Alliance for Arts Learning Leadership at the Alameda County Office of Education. In 2014, she received the inaugural Arts Education Hero award from the California State PTA and the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, was named as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful and Influential Leaders in the Nonprofit Arts in America in Barry’s Blog, and received Spirit of Philanthropy recognition from the Golden Gate Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals at their National Philanthropy Day event.
Julie has a BBA in Economics and French from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, an MBA in International Finance from the University of St. Thomas (Houston), and is one thesis away from a MA in Historic Preservation from Goucher College (Baltimore). Julie can often be found in libraries, traveling, making music, and spending time with her adult children.