Press Releases

Cal Humanities Announces New President and CEO

January 7, 2015

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Media Contact:
Margaret Shelleda
Board Chair, Cal Humanities
(510) 332-8812

(San Francisco, CA) The board of directors of Cal Humanities is pleased to announce the hiring of Julie Fry as its new President and CEO effective February 2, 2015. Cal Humanities was founded in 1975 as a humanities granting organization and has evolved into funding, creating, and collaborating on projects that connect Californians to ideas and one another. Cal Humanities has played a major role in funding high-quality, award-winning radio and film documentaries that explore California’s rich cultures and history.

Julie Fry was chosen after a national and competitive search process. Ms. Fry brings to the position 30 years of experience in business, philanthropy, and the arts. She worked for more than 7 years as Program Officer for the Performing Arts Program at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in Menlo Park, California, where she was in charge of a portfolio of more than 125 nonprofit arts organizations, including a cluster of grantees focused on arts education policy and advocacy at the federal, state, county, and local levels. From 2003 to 2007, Julie was Associate Vice President of 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, and funding partnerships. She is active in arts philanthropy on a national level.

Cal Humanities Board Chair Margaret Shelleda commented, “Julie Fry comes to Cal Humanities at an important time as we celebrate our 40th anniversary. Julie brings the right combination of experience, interests, character, and passion to help further our mission, and we are delighted she will be leading our organization. She will contribute significantly to our efforts to support humanities-based projects and programs, eye-opening cultural experiences, and meaningful conversations among Californians. We look forward to working with her as she builds upon our past accomplishments and helps us have an even greater impact in the future.”

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 pursuing a MA in Historic Preservation from Goucher College (Baltimore). She has served on a number of nonprofit boards in the US and the UK.

The mission of Cal Humanities is to connect Californians to ideas and one another in order to understand our shared heritage and diverse cultures, inspire civic participation, and shape our future. To that end, Cal Humanities runs three granting programs and also creates and collaborates on major statewide initiatives, such as “California Reads”,“Searching for Democracy”, and “War Comes Home”.

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