Celebrate J.K. Rowling’s 50th birthday by donating to Lumos

In April 2015, J.K. Rowling launched Lumos in the U.S. in the lobby of the Empire State Building.

In April 2015, J.K. Rowling launched Lumos in the U.S. in the lobby of the Empire State Building.

Our favorite author is turning 50 this year, and you know what that means…

For three years, the Light Up Jo’s Birthday fundraiser has brought together J.K. Rowling fans during her birthday month to raise money for the author’s charity, Lumos, which aims to end the institutionalization of children around the world. As always, the fundraiser runs throughout the month of July; it ends July 31, Jo’s (and Harry Potter’s) birthday.

Lumos works everyday to save children from institutions around the world. Children living in orphanages and likewise institutions are more likely to suffer mental illness, be malnourished, and are less likely to survivie. J.K. Rowling established the charity in 2005, and the organization just inaugurated the opening of a U.S. branch this year. Light Up Jo’s Birthday chose Lumos as the best way to honor the author because it is very near and dear to her heart.

Donating to Light Up Jo’s Birthday is simply the best way to give back to the woman who has given her fans so much. In the past, J.K. Rowling has called the gift “one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever received,” so who wouldn’t want to apart of it?!

As a thank you gift for your donation, the organizers are offering a chance to win a number of great prizes, including signed books by J.K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin, work from MinaLima, the graphic designers from the Harry Potter films, as well as a signed DVD of The Casual Vacancy. Donations of any size will enter you into the prize drawing.

To date, Light Up Jo’s Birthday has raised £7,000 for Lumos, and as of now, they’ve earned£660.50. However, they’ve still got a long way to go until their goal, £2,434.03.  If you’re able, help them out by donating and to benefit a worthwhile cause. At the end of the month, this amount will be donated to Lumos as a birthday present to J.K. Rowling, and the author will be notified of the donation amount.

To find out more about Lumos, click here. Visit this site to donate to Light Up Jo’s Birthday.

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Lumos USA Sweepstakes: Donate to win signed books by J.K. Rowling, tickets to theme park, more

lumosbutterflyDonate to J.K. Rowling’s charity, Lumos, for the chance to win a signed copy of J.K. Rowling’s Very Good Lives, as well as tickets to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando for the whole family, and Comic Con San Diego. 

As previously reported, Lumos U.S.A. launched last month with J.K. Rowling making appearances in New York which included the lighting the Empire State Building and an interview on the Today Show.

To mark the launch of their U.S. branch, Lumos also announced a sweepstakes competition. From now until May 10, all online donations to Lumos U.S.A. will go directly to reuniting families; that is the ultimate aim of the charity, which works to end institutionalization of children around the world.

To encourage people to donate, Lumos offers any U.S. resident who donates more than $10 online the chance to win several prizes, including: one of two signed copies of Very Good Lives, J.K. Rowling’s published Harvard Commencement address, a family-sized trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida, and tickets to San Diego Comic Con for two people. For anyone looking for a simple but meaningful Mother’s Day gift, Lumos kindly suggests donators to contribute in their mother’s name. Click here to read the full terms and conditions.

For international residents, the charity offers the same chance to win a signed copy of Very Good Lives for donations over £10. Find out more about the international competition here.

All entrants must be 16 years or older to be eligible for the prizes; the winners will be selected at random.

Rowling Talks ‘Lumos’ and Her Mission to End Worldwide Child Institutionalization

J.K. Rowling, 2014

Earlier this week, J.K. Rowling published a powerful article in The Guardian regarding her charity, Lumos. Headlined, “Isn’t it time we left orphanages to fairytales?” Rowling begins her column by recounting the heart-wrenching image of an institutionalized boy she saw in a newspaper ten years ago. Locked in a caged bed, the boy’s hands clutching at the wire surrounding him, the picture devastated her so much that she immediately began seeking a solution.

Founded in 2005, Lumos strives to shut down child institutions and “orphanages,” and help displaced children return to loving homes.

Through her research, Rowling learned that more than 8 million children worldwide are institutionalized, and the shocking fact that, in many cases, the children in these institutions have parents and family members who are still living. The main reason that children fall into these places is because their parents are unable or unwilling to take care of them. Growing up in these kinds of deplorable conditions has been proven to have a drastic, negative affect on the quality of life, education, and overall humanity of these children. Malnutrition, failure to thrive, abuse, trafficking, and even death are all common outcomes of child institutions. Rowling knew that she had to do something to put an end to the suffering of these children.

Related: J.K. Rowling’s Lumos charity launches campaign, #LetsTalkLumos

Named after the Harry Potter spell that produces light in dark places, Lumos has moved swiftly through Europe to bring hope to these children. Efforts in Moldova (Europe’s poorest nation), the Czech Republic, and Bulgaria have seen extraordinarily significant decreases in new admissions to institutions, as well as a vast increase of caregivers and foster care, providing much-needed loving family environments. If this kind of success keeps growing, the institutionalization of children can be globally eradicated by the year 2050.

In order to end child institutionalization for good, Lumos needs us all to keep the issue alive and create awareness in our own parts of the world. Last month, the charity and J.K. Rowling launched #letstalklumosa social media campaign that was created for the very purpose of keeping the issue fresh in the world’s mind. Just because we may not see what goes on in some corners of the world does not mean that it can be pushed under the rug, into the dark. Rowling ends with these simple, yet impactful words: “I recently committed to becoming president of Lumos for life. It is my dream that, within my lifetime, the very concept of taking a child away from its family and locking it away will seem to belong to a cruel, fictional world.”

Donate to Lumos’s campaign here to help children with disabilities go to school.

J.K. Rowling’s Lumos charity launches campaign, #LetsTalkLumos

On Wednesday, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling urged some of the world’s largest international aid donors, including the EU and the US Government, to use funding for the deinstitutionalization of orphans.

In London, J.K. Rowling addressed more than 50 government representatives from the world at a conference entitled In Our Lifetime: a Global Conference to End the Institutionalisation of Children,  hosted by the author’s charity, Lumos. Rowling spoke against orphanages and institutions, arguing that “children have a legal and moral right to a family life and that institutions, despite the best intentions, cannot give the love and care they need to grow and reach their potential,” according to the author’s website.

letstalkcon

At the conference, J.K. Rowling met Dumitriţa, aged 14, who has benefitted from Lumos’s work with deinstitutionalization, and also 17-year-old Cristina, the leader of children’s council at Dumitriţa’s school.

 

“I recently committed to becoming President of Lumos for Life,” Rowling said in her speech, “and it is my dream that by the time my life ends, the very concept of taking a child away from its family and locking it away will seem to belong to a cruel, fictional world.”

lumosbutterflyWednesday’s conference is aligned with the launch of Lumos’s new online social media campaign, #LetsTalkLumos, “aimed at raising awareness of the plight of up to eight million children globally who are living in orphanages and institutions, despite over 80% having living parents.” According to the charity’s website, “the campaign will also raise funds for a special education unit in a mainstream school in Moldova, to demonstrate that children with complex disabilities can be educated alongside their peers without disabilities.”

To donate to Lumos’s fund, click here. If you are not in the position to donate, please still spread the word about the campaign. Visit the charity’s website to find out more about their new efforts to combat the institutionalization of children.

Pictures via SnitchSeeker.

Light Up J.K. Rowling’s Birthday by donating to annual fundraiser for Lumos

JKR says the Light Up Jo's Birthday donation was "one of the best birthday presents she's ever received."

JKR says the Light Up Jo’s Birthday fundraiser was “one of the best birthday presents she’s ever received.”

Be part of one of the best birthday presents J.K. Rowling has received by donating to the Light Up Jo’s Birthday fundraiser for Lumos.

Since 2012, the Light Up Jo’s Birthday fundraiser has been bringing together J.K. Rowling fans to make a difference in a cause that is very close to Jo’s heart. Every July, fans donate to the fundraiser, and this money is then donated to J.K. Rowling’s own charity, Lumos, “which aims to end the institutionalization of children around the world.” The fundraiser runs throughout the month of July, as Jo’s (and Harry Potter’s) birthday is July 31.

So far, Light Up Jo’s Birthday has raised £4,500 for Lumos, and their current total at press time is £1,263.58. As always, this (growing) amount will be donated to Lumos as a birthday present to J.K. Rowling, and the author will be notified of the donation amount. This Thursday, Jo will be told in person how much has been raised so far at the Theakston Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival, where she will be appearing as Robert Galbraith.

Jo will turn 49 this year -- be apart of her birthday by donating the fundraiser

Jo will turn 49 this year — be apart of her birthday by donating the fundraiser

In the past, J.K. Rowling has called the gift “one of the best birthday presents I’d ever received,” so who wouldn’t want to apart of it?!

In addition, anyone who donates to Light Up Jo’s Birthday will have their name put in a drawing to win one of a wide-range of prizes, including photos signed by Harry Potter actors Rupert Grint and Matthew Lewis, and even a one-of-a-kind sketch of Harry by artist Thomas Taylor, who illustrated the cover for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. In addition, anyone who donates £5 or more will be entered to win the grand prize — a rare, signed copy of The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (a.k.a. J.K. Rowling). As there are two signed copies of The Silkworm available, two donators will benefit if they are chosen! Find out more about the prizes here.

Don’t forget, by donating to Light Up Jo’s Birthday, you’re helping a worthy cause that means a great deal to J.K. Rowling. According to their website, “Lumos works in partnership with governments, professionals and carers, communities, families and children, to transform outdated systems that drive families apart.” To find out more about Lumos, visit their website here.

In donating to Light Up Jo’s Birthday, you really are helping Lumos achieve their goal to end the institutionalization of children. The fundraiser’s site reads, “One project carried out by Lumos which benefited from Light Up Jo’s Birthday funds was making a school accessible, so that disabled children can attend mainstream school and stay with their families instead of having to go into an institution.” This birthday campaign is the best way to give back something meaningful to our favorite author, so we ask our readers to donate to the fundraiser if they are able.

To donate to Light Up Jo’s Birthday, click here.

J.K. Rowling Announces ‘Lumos’ Charity is going Global, at Fundraising Event

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J.K. Rowling and husband Dr. Neil Murray

On Saturday evening, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling (in a very luminous and symbolic gold dress) and husband Dr. Neil Murray hosted a fundraising event for her charity, Lumos, at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Watford, where the Harry Potter series was filmed.

At this magical place, Rowling excitedly revealed that she plans to go global with her Lumos charity. Shining along with Rowling and Murray at the Lumos event were Harry Potter film veterans Emma Watson, Alan Rickman, Warwick Davis, and Evanna Lynch. Fellow English actor Hugh Grant also showed his support and was immediately targeted for recruitment by a group of Death Eaters that snaked their way onto the red carpet. Don’t do it, Hugh!

J.K. Rowling with Emma Watson at the event.

J.K. Rowling with Emma Watson at the event

The attendees were treated to a lovely banquet in the beautifully decorated Hogwarts’ Great Hall, a part of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour. An auction was held to raise funds for Lumos, and some items up for bidding included a drawing of the Sorting Hat by J.K. Rowling and a sculpture by artist Anish Kapoor. All donations raised from this event will go directly toward Lumos, which helps European children who have been placed in decrepit orphanages. Rowling stated that since Lumos’ beginnings in 2005, it has successfully helped governments take almost 12,000 children out of these appalling institutions, across the world. “We have prevented the deaths of more than 400 vulnerable children with disabilities who were not receiving the care they needed in institutions,” she said. Lumos has also helped the European Union (EU) on the allocation of money to reform education, social, and health services and care systems.

In addition to the auction funds received, Rowling has gifted £25 million (over $33 million) of her Harry Potter fortune to Lumos. Every last penny from the £18.9 million (over $25 million) sale of Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard went directly to the charity. Anonymous private donors, believed to be Rowling herself, have contributed £5.4 million (over $7 million), as well.

J.K. Rowling will also be putting her “Lumos Maxima” bracelet up for bid at an auction being held at Sotheby’s in London on December 10. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, the author revealed the bracelet was a gift from Rowling’s British editor, given to her the day the seventh Harry Potter book was released. The bracelet commemorates Harry Potter, featuring trinkets including a winged key, a spell book, and a bolt of lightning, and is expected to raise another £20,000 (over $26K) for Lumos. Lumos spokeswoman Vicky Gillings declared, of Rowling, “The power of one person to change things is incredible.”

Rowling admitted that there is much more needed to be done to significantly decrease the suffering of displaced European children, but that the Warner Bros. Studio event was a very large step in helping to achieve Lumos’ mission and goals.

Tell us below: What would you like to do to help Rowling with her Lumos efforts?

Images courtesy of DailyMail.co.uk and Getty Images

J.K. Rowling makes large strides for strengthened advocacy with charity, Lumos

Lumos1It is undeniable that J.K. Rowling has an immensely powerful, global voice. With about 450 million Harry Potter books sold in 67 different languages, Rowling has established herself not only as a brilliant author, but also as someone who truly understands the human condition and yearns to do as much as she can to ensure that those in need are able to have the best lives possible.

‘Suddenly you think, “I can give and I can do something for [charities],”‘ she declared. She is, in fact, taking this advocacy and desire to effect change to the next level: In a telling interview with Geordie Greig of Event Magazine, J.K. Rowling announced plans to re-launch her charity Lumos in Britain.

Lumos is a charity that works “to support the 8 million children in institutions worldwide to regain their right to a family life and to end the institutionalization of children.” Rowling started the charity seven years ago, naming if after the light-producing spell in her Harry Potter books. In a few weeks time, she will take the stage at Warner Bros. in Hertfordshire to kick off newly energized rallying.

Harry Potter’s own personal struggle of being orphaned and placed into the neglectful and bullying Dursley family serves as a direct inspiration for Lumos. Rowling recounted, ‘Harry has been left in a very hostile environment, so there are clear parallels [with Lumos]. He is a boy removed from his family by bereavement.’ The mission of what Rowling’s charity strives to achieve also mirrors Harry’s welcoming of Teddy Lupin into his family after Teddy, too, was orphaned.  It is strongly believed by many Potterfans that Teddy’s fate reflected a reprieve for the childhood of which Harry was deprived, and who better to show Teddy that he was, in fact, loved and cherished, than Harry himself!

Thus far, Rowling has donated millions of pounds to establish Lumos to liberate children from deplorable conditions, horrific caged beds, and prison-like “orphanages” so they may return to their families, and she hopes that, like the Harry Potter series, this mission will have the same impact in terms of global reach.

Since its beginning, Lumos has effectively cut the number of children living in care institutions in Moldova by 63 percent, as well as helped to close approximately one third of all workhouse institutions. All in all, over 7,000 children have been helped by Lumos’ efforts, and the charity now turns to Britain to help kids in need.

A mere twenty years ago, Rowling struggled as a single mother, sometimes forgoing food to make sure that her daughter, Jessica, got enough to eat. It is still difficult for her to talk about this time in her life, and to revisit the small flat that she and Jessica once called “home.” Said Rowling, ‘I was as poor as it’s possible to be… Now I am able to give… My situation has given me a lot of fuel for my passion in this area.’Lumos2

After reading about the interview on Daily Mail, Luna Lovegood’s portrayer Evanna Lynch tweeted, ‘It only takes a little dose of JKR to remind me of what life’s about and why we’re here. Best human on the planet.’

It is clear that J.K. Rowling will continue on this awesome journey to offer her own personal brand of magic to children and families in need in Europe, and we genuinely look forward to the re-launch of this wonderful charity, Lumos!

Images courtesy of DailyMail.co.uk

Pottermore to donate 1,000 e-books to charity

Pottermore_1600x1200Pottermore will be donating 1,000 copies of the Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone e-book to Beanstalk, a national literacy charity.

Pottermore is donating the books as part of the Get London Reading Campaign and free literary festival for children. The campaign is sponsored by London Evening Standard, NOOK, and Beanstalk.

To celebrate the donation, actor and comedian Stephen Fry visited the Jubilee School in London to read from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Fry narrated the U.K. audio book editions of the Harry Potter books. The Jubilee School is just one of the deprived schools that has benefited from the Evening Standard’s Get London Reading Campaign.

Regarding the donation and campaign, Stephen Fry said: “I loved books when I was young and passionately believe that reading is one of the most important life gifts you can give a child. I am so pleased to be able to support the marvellous Get Reading event that London Evening Standard is organising in partnership with NOOK, and hope the immensely talented acts that have been announced so far will inspire children to develop their reading skills and learn to love reading as much as I do.”

Pottermore CEO Charlie Redmayne said of the donation that “Pottermore is delighted to support the Get Reading initiative, including the work that Beanstalk is doing to improve literacy across the UK. We hope that the Beanstalk volunteers and their mentors enjoy reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and immersing themselves in the world of Harry Potter.”

The books will be loaded onto the thousand NOOK e-readers that have already been donated to Beanstalk to “recruit, vet, train, and support reading volunteers in schools.”