Cal Humanities

"Part of resilience is finding joy, finding beauty, finding love."

— George Takei, Actor, Author, Director, Activist

"Part of resilience is finding joy, finding beauty, finding love."

— George Takei, Actor, Author, Director, Activist

California Humanities President & CEO Julie Fry to Step Down in February 2023 

JF portrait December 2020_10

For Immediate Release

Media Contact: Christi Shortridge, Interim Communications Director, 

 September 7, 2022—(OAKLAND, CA)—The Board of Directors of California Humanities announces the resignation of President & CEO Julie Fry, effective February 28, 2023 after eight years at the helm. A committee of current and former California Humanities board members will launch a national search in September for a new President & CEO, with plans to make an appointment in early 2023. 

Board President Oliver Rosales states, “We are grateful for Julie’s leadership; her forward-reaching vision and steady hand have served this 47-year-old organization well. We know that California Humanities is strong and thriving, and we are eager to begin the search for her successor.” 

“This role has been the pinnacle of my career,” said Fry. “When I started in 2015, I had no idea what was ahead of us. There have been challenging times, with a government shutdown and multi-year global pandemic, but even more moments of joy, learning, and appreciation for the people and stories that make up this beautiful and diverse state. I have been grateful for the board and staff members who have worked tirelessly alongside me over the years, together with partners across California and beyond. I will always be proud of what we achieved together.” 

During her tenure, Fry shepherded multiple changes within California Humanities after embarking on a statewide listening tour and creating a new strategic framework. These included an organizational rebrand, development of a portfolio of new programs, an annual increase in total grantmaking, and an international partnership. The organization received its first-ever funding from the State of California in 2019 (and again in 2021) as the result of a focused advocacy strategy, and California Humanities will host the National Humanities Conference in Los Angeles from November 10-13, 2022. Fry also served on the board of the Federation of State Humanities Councils. 

Fry will be relocating to Paris, France in 2023 and will open a consulting firm focused on arts and cultural strategy, nonprofit management, philanthropy, and international partnerships. 

California Humanities, a statewide nonprofit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, promotes the humanities—focused on ideas, conversation, and learning—as relevant, meaningful ways to understand the human condition and connect people to each other in order to help strengthen California. California Humanities has provided grants and programs across the state since 1975. To learn more, visit, or like and follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

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