UK Philanthropy Archive: Shirley Lecture – 13 May 2021

From UK Philanthropy Archive:

We are delighted to be holding the inaugural UK Philanthropy Archive Shirley Lecture, and even more delighted that our speaker will be Dame Stephanie Shirley CH – IT entrepreneur, philanthropist and founder of the Shirley Foundation.

An inspirational and engaging speaker, Dame Stephanie will talk about her life and experiences, her charitable interests and philanthropy. She arrived in the UK as an unaccompanied child refugee on the Kindertransport, an experience she describes as leaving her wanting to give something back to the country that became her home. After experiencing sexism and difficulty getting promoted and recognised professionally within the male-dominated IT industry in the 1960s – she went on to found a hugely successful IT software company that specialised in employing women, usually freelancers who often had caring responsibilities and worked from home.

After the sale of her company Dame Stephanie used the wealth she achieved in business to give back to society through her charitable foundation – The Shirley Foundation – which granted more than £60 million to a variety of projects before spending out in 2018. The inspiration for much of her philanthropy was initially technology after her professional interests, and later autism research, after her son Giles was diagnosed as profoundly autistic. Autism research and supporting families and children with autism to live happy and successful lives became the main focus and passion of her philanthropy over many years.

In 2019 Dame Stephanie generously donated the papers of The Shirley Foundation, as well as further archive material relating to her personal life and experiences, to Special Collections & Archives initiating the development of the UK Philanthropy Archive.

This is a not to be missed opportunity to hear from Dame Stephanie herself – so please join us next Thursday! You can book via the EventBrite webpage.

Please email Beth Astridge, Project Archivist at and let her if you would like to purchase a signed copy of one of Dame Stephanie’s books – ‘Let it Go’ and ‘So to Speak’ which will be available to order with all proceeds going to Autistica – the UK’s leading autism research charity.