The story is almost as magical as the plot of one of her seven Harry Potter books: A struggling single mother living on welfare becomes the first female novelist EVER in the history of the world to reach billionaire status.
Well, celebrated author J.K. Rowling is billionaire no more… Because instead of holding on to her money with a miser’s tight fist, Rowling has given so much back to charity that Forbes notes that she is no longer a billionaire.
We think Rowling is probably just fine with that:
“You have a moral responsibility when you’ve been given far more than you need, to do wise things with it and give intelligently,” Rowling says. And given back she has — mostly to organizations that help support single parent families who are struggling as she was once upon a time.
I think this awesome. And even though I am sooo not anywhere near billionaire status (yet!), Rowling’s way of thinking is inspiring me to give back where and when I can whether it’s an extra 5% on a tip at a restaurant, or buying lunch for homeless person. These are all small ways we can be part of the change to make the world a better place.
But while Rowling’s story especially touches me — (what can I say? I’m a Harry Potter fan) — I found some other examples that I think are pretty amazing:
Check out three of the wealthiest people in the world who are giving over half of their fortunes away to charity:
Hollywood director George Lucas is giving back in a big way, and he plans on donating the majority of his money to Edutopia.
Here’s why, in his own words:
Education is the foundation of our democracy — the stepping-stones for our youth to reach their full potential. My own experience in public school was quite frustrating. I was often bored. Occasionally, I had a teacher who engaged my curiosity and motivated me to learn. Those were the teachers I really loved. I wondered, “Why can’t school be engaging all of the time?” As a father, I’ve felt the imperative to transform schooling even more urgently.
Eli and Edyth broad, who have built a business and real estate empire, have promised to give away 75% of their fortune within their lifetimes. In the past, their charitable donations have gone to funding the art and advancing medical science — what a beautiful legacy to leave behind.
Baron Hilton says he will follow in the footsteps of his father and donate the remaining 97% of his wealth during his lifetime.
But for now, he has pledged over $1 billion to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation which provides money for organizations addressing challenges such as homelessness, disaster relief, and access to clean water.
There’s an expression — it’s pretty humbling: “You can’t take it with you.” Which is why it’s a beautiful thing to give away what you can to people who need it most.