Dr Patricia Turner

Co-Chair of the Turner Kirk Trust

Role: Advisory board


Dr. Patricia Turner is an academic, philanthropy practitioner, and Co-Chair of the Turner Kirk Trust.

Patricia brings more than two decades of philanthropic experience to the Advisory Board and over the course of her career has led multiple initiatives spanning sustainability, conservation, and economic development. A firm believer in a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling global biodiversity loss, Patricia has also founded and funded several initiatives and fellowships that have pioneered collaborative approaches to conservation, drawing upon inter-governmental dialogue, interdisciplinary academic research, and in-field implementation by NGOs.

Between 2007 and 2015, Patricia sat on the Advisory Board of the MicroLoan Foundation, a global non-profit organisation that provides small loans, training, mentoring and ongoing support to vulnerable women in sub-Saharan Africa. As part of her role as a Board member, Patricia established the charity’s first donor-funded regional branch in Malawi, providing the means for female entrepreneurs to launch businesses. In her role, Patricia also led a pioneering social data exercise to analyse the impact and sustainability of their existing programmes with the purpose to develop initiatives with potentially higher impact.

Patricia also advised Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) in 2014 on how to leverage data and field evidence to improve the effectiveness of philanthropic projects as well as provide more detailed reports to donors. Her work provided CAF’s private client managers with the ability to educate their donors across its multi-million-pound philanthropy portfolio.

In 2007, Patricia co-founded the Turner Kirk Trust with the goal of solving specific challenges through effective, evidence-based philanthropy. The Trust is a charitable foundation that supports STEM, conservation, and early childhood development causes in the UK and developing world. Since its founding, the Trust has disbursed over £7 million to charitable causes and partnered with organisations such as SolarAid, the UBS Optimus Foundation, and the University of Cambridge.

In her philanthropic work through the Trust, Patricia believes that charitable giving should be underpinned by robust academic research, and it is this approach that has guided her work at the Trust. She is a proponent of risk-taking within philanthropy, one of the Trust’s six guiding principles to giving. Most recently, Patricia founded the Cambridge Conservation Initiative’s Turner Fellowship Programme in 2019, which brings together world-class practitioners from academia, law, politics, and NGOs to find integrative approaches to biodiversity degradation. The Programme brings Fellows to the University of Cambridge for a three-month research residence, where they are given the support to positively impact global policy discussions around biodiversity.