Once upon a time, Joanne Rowling was a single mother living on benefits from the U.K. government. During a speech at Harvard in 2008, the woman the world now knows as J.K. Rowling explained that she once was “as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.” But after authoring the phenomenally popular Harry Potter series, Rowling became rich beyond her wildest dreams. Here’s a look at what she does with the money she worked so hard for.
20. Research into multiple sclerosis
Rowling’s mother, Anne, died of MS before Harry Potter was published. And so later she channelled her grief into charity. In 2010, after a previous large donation to the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the author donated £10 million towards a new research clinic in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was named the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, and it marked the largest single donation Rowling had ever made.
19. Her charitable foundation Lumos
Lumos – named after the magical charm used to produce light in Harry Potter – is a foundation Rowling set up to tackle the problem of child institutionalization. She was inspired to do so after reading an article about children being kept in caged beds, and realizing she was in a position to do something about it. Now, Lumos has reportedly helped over 17,000 children.