Middleton was born in London and educated at French Lycees in the UK, France and the US. She worked for the Industrial Society after receiving an economics degree from the London School of Economics. She is married and has five children. 
Common Purpose was formed in 1988. Her husband, Rupert Middleton went on a business course in USA where he spotted Community Leadership Programmes. Julia Middleton raised half a million in business sponsorship. According to Charles Handy, in 1999 Common Purpose had 120 paid staff with a turnover of £3million sterling. Julia's father worked for Peat Marwick and she had met Rupert, John Garnett, Julia Cleverdon at the Industrial Society.
CP's website has impressive sources of funding. There are a few rants about the organisation online (mostly centring around Middleton's proximity to the Office of the Deputy PM (ODPM) and the political patronage thereof.  Middleton has herself criticised political patronage.
Middleton is well networked in the New Labour, Careerist, Atlanticist networks.
Middleton's biography states she has helped to found the following organisations:
- Demos think tank
- Alfanar or the Arab Learning Initiative, which describes its role as venture philanthropy.
- Media Standards Trust
- The Good Governance Network
- Impetus Trust, which develops venture philanthropy in the UK (she is a past trustee)
Middleton is also on the Advisory Group of the Oxford Business School.
Contact and Resources
Book: Middleton, J. (2007)Beyond Authority: Leadership in a Changing World, Palgrave Macmillan
Blog: Julia Middleton's Thoughts on Leadership at: http://juliamiddleton.net/
- Julia Middleton, Common Purpose, accessed 14 December 2010.
- About Julia Middleton, Blog Julia Middleton's Thoughts on Leadership, accessed 14 December 2010
- Handy, C. (1999) The New Alchemists, Random House
- For example 
- House of Commons Public Administration Select Committee, Government By Appointment: Opening Up The Patronage State, Fourth Report of Session 2002–03
- Arab Learning Initiative  and Alfanar