Nine people who have made amazing charitable donations
Harry Potter author JK Rowling has donated £15.3 million to a care and research facility named after her mother who died at the age 45 from a condition called multiple sclerosis.
JK Rowling has donated £15.3 million to a medical research facility, which she helped to set up. The facility is named after the Harry Potter author’s mother, who died at the age 45 from complications related to a condition called multiple sclerosis (MS). JK Rowling wants the money to support more research into conditions such as MS, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s and dementia. It isn't her first charitable contribution though. She also founded a charity called Lumos after making it her mission to take children out of poorly-run orphanages by by 2050. Harry Potter fans will notice that the charity is named after the spell used by witches and wizards to bring light to dark places. In fact, in 2012, JK Rowling dropped off the Forbes billionaires list - a famous list of very rich people - partly due to the amount of her money which she donated to charities.
When she was awarded a major science prize, Prof Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell - one of the UK's leading astronomers - said she was going to give away the £2.3 million winnings. She wanted the money to go towards paying for women, under-represented ethnic minorities and refugee students to become physics researchers. She won the sum as part of a Breakthrough Prize for the discovery of radio pulsars. She told BBC News: "I don't want or need the money myself and it seemed to me that this was perhaps the best use I could put to it." She says herself says she felt "overawed" at university because she was a woman and also from Northern Ireland, but that the fact she was in the minority helped her come up with fresh ideas.
Co-founder of Microsoft Bill Gates has also given a large amount of money towards causes he cares about. In fact, he now spends most of his time on charitable work, running the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with his wife. The organisation has given millions to causes all over the world, including emergency relief, and health and education schemes. Bill says he thinks giving money like this is "a basic responsibility of anyone with a lot of money. Once you’ve taken care of yourself and your children, the best use of extra wealth is to give it back to society."
One name that often comes up when people are talking about charitable giving is that of music legend Sir Elton John, who gives away a huge amount of money. In 2016, he donated a massive £26.8 million. Much of what he gives goes to paying for research into the medical condition HIV, as well as support for those living with AIDS (which is associated with HIV) - mostly through an organisation that he set up in the early 1990s. Over the years, the group has raised millions. Together with JK Rowling, the pair have actually been named in the past as the UK's most charitable celebrities.
Another music superstar who has showed she has more generosity than most is Taylor Swift. In August 2016 when 13 people died and 146,000 homes were destroyed in terrible flooding in Louisiana, the singer donated $1 million to those affected and another $50,000 to a food bank. But she didn't stop there. In the same year, she gave $100,000 to those affected by Tennessee wildfires. Over the years, she has also donated many thousands of dollars to fans, including $15,000 to a US firefighter who saved his own family, and also to orchestras who have inspired her.
It's not just well known figures who have made a massive difference with generous donations. Sheffield United fans Barbara and Ray Wragg won £7.6 million on the National Lottery back in 2000 - and they gave away more than £6 million of their winnings, particularly to Sheffield hospitals. In 2009, Mrs Wragg said she and her husband "got pleasure from giving money away" and said their winnings were "too much for two people." They also gave money to family and friends, and paid for 50 people who had fought in World War Two to visit Italy for the 60th anniversary of a battle in 2004, after they had not manage to get enough money to go.
It's widely known that superstar footballers earn a huge amount of money - and when they play at an international level, they will also receive appearance fees for this. Ever since 2007, though, members of the England football team have donated their appearance fees for international matches to the England Footballers Foundation. The Football Association does not reveal the size of England men's appearance fees, but after 2018's World Cup, France's Kylian Mbappe announced he would be donating his £17,000-per-match fees - so we suspect it's a lot of money. So far, the England Footballers Foundation has donated more than £5 million to charity from 300 player appearances.
But the England team are far from the only sports stars doing their bit for charity. JJ Watt - the NFL defensive end for the Houston Texans - was applauded for raising a whopping $31 million to help Hurricane Harvey victims. In September 2017, he received a hero's welcome at his first home game of the season. Other famous faces, like American TV presenter Ellen DeGeneres, also got behind the idea. She managed to get American supermarket Walmart to donate $1 million, as well as lots of supplies for the people affected.
This woman called Chen Shu-chu has quietly been donating millions of Taiwanese dollars to charity, which is equal to hundreds of thousands of UK pounds. At almost 70 years old, Chen is a humble vegetable seller who works up to 18 hours a day, six days a week. But no matter how much money she makes, she spends no more than three dollars a day on herself so that she can give away the rest. "Everyone can do it. It's not just me. It's not how much money you make that matters, but how you use your money," she says. "I don't see money as being that important. After all, you can't bring it with you when you start a new life and you can't take it with you when you leave this life."