Julie Dickinson, passionate fundraiser for BR causes, dies at age 50

Julie Dickinson
Julie Dickinson

Baton Rouge lost one of its greatest nonprofit fundraisers with the death Thursday of Julie Dickinson after a brief illness. She was 50.

As chairwoman of Hollydays the year after Hurricane Katrina, Dickinson’s “Night of Caring” set a new record for this annual fundraiser, a record that still stands eight years later. As league president in 2010, she made grant writing the league’s second highest source of income.

“She was very dedicated and passionate,” said Leslie Berg, current Junior League president. “One of the things she was most passionate about was the Baton Rouge Autism Speakers Series, which she helped found. She brought many people together and will be greatly missed.”

For her promotion of volunteerism, Dickinson was presented with the league’s Mary Frey Eaton Community Service Award in 2005 and, in 2010, was named one of Louisiana’s 2010 Most Powerful & Influential Women and honored as a Volunteer Activist by the Baton Rouge Speech & Hearing Foundation.

The Baton Rouge Symphony League is another group that greatly benefited from Dickinson’s fundraising skills.

“She was a vital part of the league,” said Edna Latchem, past Symphony League president. “She served as chairwoman of Mad Hatters and of Bal de la Symphonie the year I was president. Julie also contributed to the financial well-being of the symphony.”

Carole Fredrickson volunteered with Dickinson in many areas during their 15-year friendship. She agreed with statements made by most everyone else who worked with Dickinson that, if she was charge, it was getting done and done right.

“That’s why I put her in charge of Mad Hatters one year,” said Fredrickson, who chaired the event for two years. “I knew she couldn’t tell me no. She did for me and I did for her … she was such a good person.”

Raising funds for the American Cancer Society was another of Dickinson’s passions; she was its 2013-14 board president. Other groups benefiting from her passion for giving back were American Red Cross, Louisiana Arts & Science Museum, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation and Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge.

Dickinson is survived by husband, Travis Dickinson, and children Caden, Cassidy and Courtney. Visitation is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at Rabenhorst Funeral Home on Government Street. Funeral services are 10 a.m. Tuesday at First United Methodist Church.