In 2012, JK Rowling was dropped from Forbes’ annual list of billionaires due to Britain’s high taxes and (most notably) from her large amounts in charitable giving. At the time, her donations were estimated at around $160 million. Today she continues to do charity work, and was even recently inducted to the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) for her services in literature and philanthropy.

Rowling is known as the author of the phenomenal book series that brought forth the massively successful Harry Potter franchise. But as magical and heartwarming her stories are, Rowling’s life before her success was of the opposite: a life of frustration, depression, and hardship. At the latter part of her 20’s she had struggled with the death of her mother, her separation with her husband and having to be a single mother, being unemployed, and having to live off government welfare.

Her talent for storytelling eventually brought her her well-deserved recognition –after being rejected by twelve publishers, Harry Potter was eventually put into bookstores and had turned into a worldwide sensation. Yet as Rowling’s fortune continued to amass through the years, her money could never grow as large as her heart. Her accumulated wealth became an opportunity for her to help those in need, especially those who are in similar situations as she was once in, handling charities like Gingerbread that aims to support single parents. Her philanthropy has changed as much lives as her books, and she continues to inspire many with her lifestyle of generosity.

Rowling would not be the first person to leave Forbes’ billionaire list due to charitable givings. In 2010, Jon Hunstman Sr, an American businessman, was removed from Forbes’ list of 400 richest Americans due to his large donations to cancer foundations. With both his parents having died from cancer, and he himself being a four-time cancer survivor, Hunstman was no stranger to the disease. He had vowed to help researchers understand cancer more, never wanting anyone to feel the dread and suffering that he had felt with it. Huntsman valued the power in giving, and has at least given away $1.2 billion.

It’s givers like these that we look up to. They may have found success and fortune but they never forgot how it was like to struggle. Knowing very well how much it was to suffer, they decided that others did not deserve to go through the same things. They recognize the fact that every life is as valuable as theirs, and they have become billionaires not only by money but by heart.

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JK Rowling and Jon Huntsman image: Wikipedia

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