Celebrate J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter’s Birthday with Philanthropy

July 31 has always been a special day for the Harry Potter fandom, but this year, we want to make it even better! Since both J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter celebrate their birthday on that day, it’s one of the most magical days of the year. We’re hoping to give these two the best birthday present ever by raising awareness and collecting donations for a few incredible charities.

This gift seemed to be the perfect fit for these two because of how important philanthropy is to J.K. Rowling. After graduating from college, Rowling worked for Amnesty International. In 2000, she created the Volant Charitable Trust, which is dedicated to fighting poverty and social inequality, especially for women and children. She went on to start Lumos in 2005 with the goal of raising money to keep children with living relatives out of orphanages and return them to their families. Rowling has been a contributing patron of the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland and was also made the president of Gingerbread, a charity for single-parent families, in 2007 after being an ambassador for years. In 2010, she donated a significant amount in order to found the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic in memory of her mother, who suffered from MS.

2011 was another incredibly philanthropic year for J.K. Rowling. This was the year she lost her billionaire status after donating $160 million to charity, 16% of her net worth. She has contributed to multiple other charities that she feels strongly about over the years, including Comic Relief, Maggie’s Centres, the UK Labour Party, and Doctors Without Borders. So with J.K. Rowling’s philanthropic spirit in mind, we wanted to support a few charities as well in her and Harry’s honor.

The charities we chose to feature in this campaign were chosen because they strongly support and reflect the same positive values and messages that the Harry Potter series represents. They are also smaller organizations that don’t typically get as much attention and publicity, and therefore, we felt they would really appreciate our support! We’re hoping to thank J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter for all the magic they’ve given us over the years by collecting donations as well as raising awareness for the Harry Potter Alliance, Project Purple, the Protego Foundation, and the Trevor Project. To find out more about these charities and what they mean to us, open each toggle to read more about them below!

The Harry Potter Alliance

The Harry Potter Alliance

The Harry Potter Alliance turns fans into heroes. We’re changing the world by making activism accessible through the power of story. Since 2005, we’ve engaged millions of fans through our work for equality, human rights, and literacy.

Our Vision: A creative and collaborative culture that solves the world’s problems.

Our Values: We believe in magic. We believe that unironic enthusiasm is a renewable resource. We know fantasy is not only an escape from our world, but an invitation to go deeper into it. We celebrate the power of community—both online and off. We believe that the weapon we have is love.

Donate to The Harry Potter Alliance Here

Aside from practically sharing a name with the series itself, the HPA is a clear choice for this campaign, because of the work it does. This charity is specifically designed to bring fans of Harry Potter together to support causes they feel strongly about. The group typically has multiple great campaigns running at once, so fans have a variety of causes to support.

Project Purple

Project Purple

Project Purple is a Connecticut-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to raise awareness, support patients and families affected by the disease, and fund research efforts to defeat pancreatic cancer… Project Purple supports patients struggling with medical, pharmaceutical, and everyday living expenses related to their fight against pancreatic cancer [and] funds research for early detection and finding a cure for pancreatic cancer. We are currently funding research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Tufts Medical Center, and University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Donate to Project Purple Here

Project Purple holds a really special place in the hearts of many Harry Potter fans due to its work with pancreatic cancer. For those who may not know, pancreatic cancer was the illness that eventually took the life of Alan Rickman on January 14, 2016. Rickman was diagnosed with cancer just five months before in August 2015. Pancreatic cancer is typically asymptomatic in the early stages, so, in most cases, by the time it is detected the disease has already spread and is almost always fatal. After detection, only 25% of pancreatic cancer patients survive one year. Project Purple hopes to find ways to detect pancreatic cancer earlier as well as find better treatments for those with the disease. It also helps cover the medical expenses of those already fighting pancreatic cancer.

The Protego Foundation

The Protego Foundation

The Protego Foundation fights to end the abuse of the creatures in the no-maj world inspired by the Wizarding World. We are a group of activists empowering all magical persons to get active for animals… We have been inspired by the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts worlds to compare how magical creatures in the Wizarding World and how the animals in the muggle world are treated. Our goal: a wizarding fandom that is more considerate of the rights, feelings, and treatment of all creatures regardless of species, size, or magical ability.

Donate to The Protego Foundation Here

Another organization inspired directly by the wizarding world and all of the incredible magical creatures mentioned in the books, The Protego Foundation hopes to change how animals in the Muggle world are treated. They typically have a variety of campaigns running that support different endangered species and other ongoing issues, like the overpopulation of animal shelters. They are currently spearheading a petition to change the butterbeer recipe at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to contain only vegan ingredients.

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25. The Trevor Project offers accredited life-saving, life-affirming programs and services to LGBTQ youth that create safe, accepting and inclusive environments over the phone, online and through text.

Donate to The Trevor Project Here

While not directly connected to Harry Potter, The Trevor Project helps to provide support to LGBTQ teens who are struggling. One of the prominent themes in the Harry Potter series is to be open and accepting of everyone without judgment. J.K. Rowling has firmly come out to say that wizards don’t typically discriminate over sexual orientation or other lifestyle preferences and that Hogwarts was a fairly safe place for them. She also later revealed that she always thought of Albus Dumbledore, one of the greatest and most powerful wizards in the series, as gay. The Harry Potter fandom has always tried to be a welcoming place for everyone and tends to have a fairly large LGBTQ community within it. It is important that resources like the one The Trevor Project supplies are around to continue to support struggling teens during difficult times.

In order for our efforts to reach as many people as possible, we have started the #ThankYouForTheMagic Birthday Campaign through a crowdfunding website called Daycause. The site allows participants to sign up to support our goal by committing to send out a Twitter or Facebook message informing others of the fundraiser all at the same time on July 31. By releasing all of these messages at once, it becomes more likely that the campaign will gain traction and continue to grow. This will help us raise as much money as possible for these incredible charities so we can make J.K. Rowling and Harry’s birthday as magical as possible!

If you would like to join our #ThankYouForTheMagic Birthday Campaign please click here.