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Results 1 - 25 of 202
1. How can history inform public policy today?

As a historian of philanthropy, I have wrestled with how to bring historical perspectives to my my own gifts of time and money. I study philanthropists in North America, the British Isles, and the Caribbean in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The distant past, you might think, and of little concern to our philanthropic practices today.

The post How can history inform public policy today? appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on How can history inform public policy today? as of 8/9/2016 7:37:00 AM
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2. “Spread the Light” Fundraiser for J.K. Rowling’s Birthday

It is that time of year again! J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter’s birthday is just around the corner and more than 20 Harry Potter fansites are coming together in support of a cause to honor our beloved philanthropic author and her boy wizard that changed lives.

This year, Spread the Light is hosting a fundraiser–with a chance to win many magical prizes–to support J.K. Rowling’s charitable University of Edinburgh research facility (which focuses on wide range of neurological conditions, especially neurodegenerative diseases), The Anne Rowling Clinic.

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Spread the Light details their mission on their website, saying:


“Spread The Light is organized and run by more than 20 “Harry Potter” fan sites and youtubers from around the world (for the full list, see below). The goal of this fundraiser is to help raise funds and awareness to the important work the Anne Rowling Clinic does. Founded in J.K. Rowling’s late mothers’ name, it provides out care for patients with multiple sclerosis and other Neurodegenerative diseases as well as cutting edge research and clinical trials. Despite MS, they treat conditions such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s among other life-threatening conditions which currently have no cure. With your donation, that could change!

“We are running a huge prize draw as part of the fundraiser with grand prizes that includes countless autographs from the “Harry Potter” cast/crew, a personalized thank you letter from “Fantastic Beasts” star Alison Sudol, signed books plus so much more! (For a full list, click here.)



The Guardian wrote an article featuring Spread the Light and their efforts, saying:


In addition to discovering the pleasure of reading, Potterheads have also learned the importance of love, friendship, tolerance and so many other values in their magical journey through the wizarding world. Now, as grown-ups, the children who waited for their Hogwarts letters during all those years are able to put it all into practice, lightning up the lives of those in need as JK Rowling once did for them.

Created by the American Michaella Katz (from Always J.K. Rowling) and Brazilian Pedro Martins (from Potterish), the fundraiser Spread the Light was warmly embraced by more than 20 Potter fansites and Youtubers and supported by writers, publishers and bookshops from all over the world. The idea is simple: it invites fans to be a Patronus as JK Rowling was to them.


“We’ve built a loyal group of followers throughout our years working with the Harry Potter fandom, so we wanted to transform this influence into something substantial that thanked Rowling and resignified our purpose as fans. We looked for institutions the author approves and departed from that to start spreading our light”, explains the 23-year-old Brazilian Igor Moretto (from Animagos), who works especially with the design part of the project.

The cool thing is that fans can double win Spreading the Light. Besides helping turn the world into a better place, when they make their donations through our Just Giving page, they automatically enter into a prize draw. Some of our incredible supporters donate perks for us to encourage fans taking part. This time, we have a number of prizes. Some of the Deathly Hallows Grand Prizes are: the complete Harry Potter Blu-ray collection donated and signed by David Yates, who directed the last four Potter movies and the upcoming Fantastic Beasts; a Harry Potter group photo signed by six cast members: Alan Rickman, Evanna Lynch, Daniel Radcliffe, David Yates, Matthew Lewis; and also signed books by Gayle Forman and Paula Pimenta, plus much more!

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Read more from the Guardian here, and visit Spread the Light to make a donation and enter to win prizes!


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3. Emma Watson, Emma Thompson, and others Take Part in Red Nose Day 2016 Celebrity Plea

On May 26, Emma Watson, Emma Thompson, and other celebrities got silly for a cause to raise awareness for Red Nose Day, a global fundraising event that uses comedy to help raise funds for children living in poverty. Spot our Hermione and Professor Trelawney in the video below as they fight other celebrities for the audience’s attention.



Though Red Nose Day had its start as an iconic British fundraising event, this is the second year of participation for the United States. A primetime television event aired on May 26 featuring comedic skits, musical performances, and short films documenting the lives of children affected by poverty in the U.S. and around the globe. In the days leading up to the television event, celebrities shared their silly side to up awareness for the event–like the photo below that the de-light-fully funny Emma Watson shared on her Instagram account.



A photo posted by Emma Watson (@emmawatson) on

Red Nose Day donations are still being accepted. For more information, read more at E News. To make a donation, visit the Red Nose Day website.

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4. J.K. Rowling’s Lumos: Help Kids with Disabilities

Last year, J.K. Rowling’s Lumos raised $30,000 on Indiegogo to build a first-of-its kind Special Education Unit in Moldova with a goal to ensure that children with disabilities no longer need to be needlessly separated from their families in order to gain access to education. This year, Lumos is asking people to join them in collecting money to help furnish the unit with specialized equipment that the children will need in order to attend school.

J.K. Rowling founded Lumos to help countries reform their services for disadvantaged children and the organization has a goal of ending the institutionalization of children by 2050 to support their belief that children need families rather than orphanages.

This year’s project is aiming to reach to $35,000 USD. Both J.K. Rowling and the official Lumos Twitter page have shared links to the campaign along with their encouragements for donations.




The campaign can be found from here. Please note that there are different kind of perks available for those who donate, from rare Hogwarts maps to thank you videos and signed copies of The Tales of Beedle The Bard. 

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5. Last Chance to support LUMOS!

This is the last call for donations to help the LUMOS campaign to raise its goal of $60,000!

The campaign is going towards furnishing the first-of-its kind Special Education Unit in Moldova with specialised equipment needed for disabled students. The unit was built after a similar campaign on Indiegogo last year with the goal of ensuring that children with disabilities no longer need to be needlessly separated from their families in order to gain access to education.

There are still loads of brilliant perks on the Indiegogo page for the campaign, which you can find here.

LUMOS’s campaign ends on December 22nd and is currently at $54,507, so make sure you get your donations in ASAP!


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6. Oliver Phelps Becomes a Waiter for Fundraiser

Oliver Phelps (George Weasley) served food as a waiter, to contribute to Street restaurant’s fundraiser to find a cure for leukemia. The restaurant in Earlsdon, Coventry hosted many famous faces, who came to provide entertainment for dinner guests.

Oliver Phelps was one of the many celebrities serving food, while other’s provided live entertainment–music and comedy. The Coventry Telegraph reported the event, saying:


On the way to raising a whopping £2,500 for Cure Leukaemia and the Professional Cricketers Association, the night was masterminded by England and Warwickshire cricketer Ian Westwood.

The aim was simple: to raise money in an event which Coventry residents could be proud of – and, boy, was it a success.

There was some great feedback from punters, with Harry Potter star Oliver Phelps appearing to serve food, alongside cricketers Jim Troughton, Tim Ambrose and Ian Westwood.

“All food and drink was served by the celebs, who took it really seriously. They gave great service – along with making time for a few selfies with customers throughout the night!”

The night was hosted by comedian Billy Bell, who interviewed the stars and kept diners laughing all night.

The evening was finished off with Paul Roberts wooing the ladies, singing plenty of Stranglers hits and more.


What a pleasant surprise it would be to sit down at a restaurant and have a Weasley twin ask what you would like to drink. Perhaps he’d slip disruptive Weasley Wizard Wheezes under your table as he passed by, perhaps not. It is always a joy to see Harry Potter cast members offering their support for charity!



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7. Happy Valentine’s Day: Spread the Light for Lumos

Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all. Whether your Gilderoy Lockhart sharing an extra smile with a portrait of yourself, punch drunk on a strong love potion, having an awkward first date at Madam Puddifoot’s Tea Shop, or celebrating with your closest friends and family, we hope you are spreading love this Valentine’s Day.

In honor of Valentine’s Day, we would like to the word about an opportunity to spread love to Lumos. Spread the Light is hosting a fundraiser for J.K. Rowling’s children’s charity. The fundraiser was founded by J.K. Rowling and Potterish, and is supported by 19 different Harry Potter fan websites. The fundraiser is also a prize draw, and offers Harry Potter fans the chance to win unique Harry Potter prizes with their donation. SpreadtheLight.site writes:


Exciting things happen when you unite the worldwide Harry Potter fansite community! Together we’re giving you the chance to win some incredible prizes such as a signed Harry Potter book set signed by Daniel Radcliffe (which was won by the Spread The Light staff referring the most donors to Lumos’s 2015 Winter campaign), original drawings by Harry Potter illustrators, Thomas Taylor & Olly Moss, 2 Cassandra Clare (Shadow Hunters) signed books, plus much more!

Spread The Light is a fundraiser for the children’s charity J.K. Rowling founded, Lumos. Lumos aims to transform the life of children who reside in orphanages, giving back their fundamental rights like having the comfort and the peace of a home or parents who love them. A shocking 90% of the 8 million children in orphanages aren’t even orphans! A recent study found that children who grow up in institutions are 10 times more likely to be involved in prostitution than their peers, 40 times more likely to have a criminal record and 500 times more likely to take their own lives. With your help, that can all change! (For more on Lumos, visitWeAreLumos.org).


If you would like to spread some love to those benefited by Lumos with Spread the Light, please visit it SpreadtheLight.site, or follow them on their Facebook and Twitter. Thank you all!

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8. Two-Year Project Manager Position Needed at Lumos

This morning, J.K. Rowling’s children’s charity, Lumos, released a statement that they are now hiring. Lumos, which is “committed to protecting and empowering the world’s most vulnerable children,” is looking for a project manager at their office in London.

The job description is posted on their site, wearelumos.org. Some of the details are below:


project manager

Location: London – with the ability to travel internationally
Salary: 40,000 per annum – 2 year fixed term contract
Full/Part time: Full time
Temporary/Permanent: Temporary
Closing date: 19th April 2016
Interview date: 2nd May 2016

Job Description

Are you an experienced project manager with a passion to help vulnerable children? If you are, this job may be ideal for you.
Across the globe, an estimated eight million children live in institutions and orphanages. At least 80% are not orphans but are separated from families. They are deprived of the close, loving adult engagement a family provides; their physical, intellectual and emotional development is harmed; and they are exposed to significant risk of abuse and neglect. These are some of the world’s most disadvantaged children.
At Lumos, an international NGO founded by J.K. Rowling, and the UK 2015 Charity of the Year, we believe this is a solvable problem. We have developed a model of ‘deinstitutionalisation’ to support countries to reform child care and protection systems based on institutions and replace them with health, education and social care services which keep families together in the community.
We are seeking an experienced project manager to oversee the development and delivery of two major projects at Lumos. 
1. Knowledge Transfer Project:
2. Greece Deinstitutionalisation Support Project:
Lumos operates in a number of different countries helping to support national and regional-level deinstitutionalisation activities. This project aims to help plan for and support the deinstitutionalisation process in Greece. This involves providing training and technical support to staff in the child protection system, emergency support and advocacy activities.
To apply for this role, you should be able to demonstrate a commitment to children’s rights, as well as an understanding of the factors influencing the institutionalisation of children and the complex challenges during the transition from institutional to community-based systems. Demonstrable experience in project management, including budget management, is required, together with experience of working in partnership with other organisations including governments, NGOs and other service providers. 
Post-qualification experience in social work, health, public sector management, international children’s charity work or other relevant children’s services environments involving cross sector working is essential.


For more details and requirements about the job, instructions how to apply, and more, please visit wearelumos.orgAll applicants must have an existing right to work in the UK. 

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9. J.K. Rowling’s Chair Auctions for Nearly $400,000

Last month, when Leaky reported that the chair J.K. Rowling sat on writing the first two Harry Potter book as a struggling single mother, the opening auction price was $45,000. It was sold for $394,000 at the auction earlier this week. Yes, nearly $400,000 for that little magical chair.

The seller of the chair, Gerald Gray, said that he would donate 10% of the proceeds to J.K. Rowling’s children’s charity, Lumos. Long ago, J.K. Rowling originally auctioned off the chair to benefit charity and Mr. Gray felt called to contribute to a cause. Lumos was gifted nearly $40,000 in donations from the chair alone.


The Belfast Telegraph reported on the auction, saying:

The chair was auctioned twice before – once by J. K. Rowling to benefit charity.

The seller, Gerald Gray, of Worsley, Greater Manchester, said the winning bid far exceeded his expectations.

“I plan to donate 10% to J.K. Rowling’s charity, Lumos, because that’s what she did in the first place,” said Mr Gray, a businessman who runs a vehicle speed control equipment company in Manchester, and in Sarasota, Florida, called AutoKontrol.

He said he would like to see the new buyer display it somewhere where children could see it, perhaps in a museum or theme park.

He bought the chair in 2009 after his daughter, a Harry Potter fan, saw it on eBay.



Heritage Auctions, who hosted the auction of the chair, uploaded several images of the chair and wrote a lengthy description of it, saying:

A few years after the publication of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the chair was donated to a small auction in 2002 called Chair-ish a Child in aid of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). However, it was something that according to Rowling herself would have been “purchased from a junk shop for a tenner.” Rather than selling it in its original form, Rowling used gold, rose, and green paints to transform the chair into a magical piece of literary memorabilia.

On the stiles and splats, in gold and rose colors: “You may not / find me pretty ~ / but don’t judge / on what you see.”

Rowling signed the backrest in the gold and rose paints. Then along the apron of the seat: “I wrote / Harry Potter / while sitting / on this chair.”

For comparison, a handwritten manuscript of The Tales of Beedle the Bard was auctioned by Sotheby’s in 2007 and purchased by Amazon.com for nearly $4 million, benefiting Rowling’s own charity, Lumos.

An incredible representation of a woman’s against-all-odds struggle to share her creative vision that is distinctly connected to and passed on by Rowling herself. This ordinary chair turned beautiful art piece is an incredible physical manifestation of a woman’s transformation into the modern world’s foremost literary figure. A small piece of history connected to the mythology of the Wizarding World and one of the most beloved characters in children’s literature: Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived.


The entire description of the piece, and more photos of it, may be read here . A video created about the chair, created for the auction, can be seen below.

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10. Lion Sketch for Sale to Support The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado

John the Lion, the handsome fellow I have sketched several times at the Cincinnati Zoo
I have a sketch for sale of John the Lion  that will benefit The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado to build funds in order for them to bring in and care for 33 lions and 1 Andean bear just being rescued from circuses.

Spread the word; Share and enjoy!


From a trip last summer...
You can see all the art and prints available here:

Also for sale is a signed copy of my book Big Cats.

0 Comments on Lion Sketch for Sale to Support The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado as of 4/8/2015 2:42:00 PM
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11. Bath Kids Literature Festival Fundraiser

I just sent off my artwork to be auctioned off for this excellent fundraiser in aid of Bath Festivals:

This is your chance to own a unique piece of original art by one of the UK’s best and most popular illustrators. Come along on the night to bid on one of several framed pieces of art – each depicting the famous Bath Children’s Literature Red Chair.
Amazing artists including including Chris Riddell (Goth Girl), Ben Cort(Aliens love Underpants), Nick Sharratt (The Story of Tracey Beaker),  Korky Paul (Winnie the Witch), Alison Jay (Welcome to the Zoo), Michael Foreman (War Game) and Axel Scheffler (The Gruffalo) have all donated pieces featuring their own, entertaining interpretation of the Festivals’ iconic red storytelling chair.
Help secure the future of the Bath Festivals internationally renowned programme of popular Festivals and be in with a chance of acquiring a piece of artwork to treasure for your family, school or business.
An Online Auction of many more Artworks will be launched on the night.
My picture is painted using all materials I have picked for the art lessons and workshops I'll be giving soon via The Kraken Studio - all cheap stuff but really nice.

Go and admire the rest, there are some Mighty Fine Red Chairs to be had.

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12. Lumos Receives Award

Lumos tweeted that they have been awarded the Charity Award of International Aid and Development for their work in Moldova. Lumos is working in Moldova to create an Inclusive Education program. This program works to ensure that kids with disabilities have equal access to “universal services,” such as education. Lumos believes that this is a crucial step in ending the institutionalization of children. Lumos discussed their work in an article on their web page a couple of years ago:

During a conference in November 2013, Lumos and the Ministry of Education in Moldova were able show that developing these much-needed services is achievable.

The conference brought together 200 policy makers, teachers, government officials, education specialists and professionals from non-governmental organisations to highlight not only the achievements made in Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe, but highlight the crucial link between inclusive education, deinstitutionalisation and the reform of services for children and families.

Participants were also able see the services for themselves and were able to take part in the inaugural opening of two resource centers for inclusive education in Ialoveni region.  They also heard from a number of the 570 children who had left residential institutions, who are now growing up within families and are now accessing education in their community and alongside their friends and peers.


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If you would like to donate, or support Lumos in any way, please visit Lumos’ website. Please join us here at Leaky in congratulating all those who dedicate their hardwork and efforts to Lumos, as well as J.K. Rowling.

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13. The Education Fraud

Today I was really riled up by Global Citizen's post : 'If girls would complete their primary education, maternal deaths would decrease by 70%'.
Someone please explain this daft statement to me because I cannot see how having completed high school will help a woman who has no access to a clean, well-equipped medical facility!
I think that is the stupidest oversimplification of a very serious social problem. What expectant mothers need is proper nutrition and support. They need medical care during and after the pregnancy, and during the birthing process. 
And that brings me to what I call the 'Education Fraud.' There has been this concerted effort by everyone in the 'do-good' field to make us believe that setting up schools is the answer to everything. From Malala's claims of how important education is to her country (it is, but so much more needs to be addressed before setting up schools) to people signing off parts of their paychecks to help some child learn his abcd's in a remote corner of the world, we all have bought into the concept of investing in schooling. It is great, but it is pointless if it is not predicated on more pressing priorities. And especially when we are already rethinking our entire learning system!
I was always irritated with Greg Mortenson's idea. It bothered me that he thought kids who were covering their frost-bitten feet with straw should be thrilled with the pencils he provided. The deprivation those children were experiencing, they would be thrilled with anything. Electricity, plumbing, water, maybe even chocolates.....? I will not accept that that the joy of learning something new (for it is a joy) is more important that basic human needs. And incomprehensible soundbites like the one that leads this write-up do not convince me. My cook's son goes to a school where where most of the students come from well-to-do families. Along with the theorems and grammar, he learns how disadvantaged he is and how different from his friends. He is a very unhappy child.
I work for an organization that sets up schools in under-resourced communities in Punjab. It is a unique model. All the children come from one community. Besides the basic food and clothing, we ensure that the children learn to express their hopes and fears. There is no set curriculum; the aim is to provide a safe nurturing environment for them to develop their potential. It is not schooling as much as it is nurturing and support. the concentration remains on what they need, not what we would like them to have.
Poverty is a much more insidious evil than a simple lack of opportunity for the affected community. It affects the mindset of a people, it affects the spirit, it affects their thinking. Recent research proves it affects both mind and brain. More pertinently, it results in markedly uncomfortable living situations and limits people's access to facilities that everyone has a right to. Poverty is a disease, and it, like any other disease, has to be given the proper antidote. I can assure you that that antidote is not a pencil or a blackboard. 
About 805 million people of the 7.3 billion people in the world are suffering from chronic undernourishment. This is a 2015 UN statistic. Each one of these individuals, children and the mothers-to-be included, are hungry and afraid. Their main worry is how to fend off hunger pangs, where to get clean water from, and what livelihood to find that will sustain them. It is our collective responsibility to make food and stability a priority, for all people everywhere in the world. Education is only the next step. We should move to that step only after we have lived up to our humanity; after every individual in our race is safe from hunger and strife. it is not education but the freedom from hunger and oppression is the most basic human right that we absolutely must address. 

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14. Please join “Light Up Jo’s Birthday” Fundraising for Lumos

This year J.K. Rowling will celebrate her 50th birthday. To help celebrate this achievement, Always J.K. Rowling is hosting their fourth annual “Light Up Jo’s Birthday” fundraiser for Jo’s charity, Lumos. This year, they want the celebration and honoring of Jo’s birthday to be even bigger and better than in years past (she only turns 50 once in a lifetime). In the last four years, “Light Up  Jo’s Birthday” has raised more than 7,500 pounds for Lumos. This year, if the draw of giving back to the community isn’t enough, Always J.K. Rowling is offering prizes to encourage participation. Prizes include:

-A signed copy of The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling

– A limited edition, illustrated copy of A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin, signed by the author and the illustrator, Ted Nasmith

– A rare dust jacket from an unsold version of A Feast for Crows by George RR Martin, signed by the author

– A one night stay in The Georgian House Hotel‘s ‘Wizard Chambers’ in London

– A copy of The Casual Vacancy on DVD, signed by the cast and crew

– A limited edition Marauder’s Map print by MinaLima

– A signed photo of Chris Rankin

– A pair of tickets to Potted Potter

– A pair of tickets to the Muggle Tours Walking Tour of London

– A Harry Potter t-shirt from Qwertee

– A surprise book bundle, including signed copies

Donations will be taken throughout the month of July, leading up to J.K. Rowling’s (and Harry Potter’s) birthday. You can enter to win prizes without donating, though donations are strongly encouraged. There is no residential or age limitation on the prizes. More information about how to donate and how to enter the prize draw can be found on the “Light Up Jo’s Birthday” donation page. Please share this news on social media to encourage more to help donate.

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15. Rupert Grint supports Fighting Cancer through “World’s Biggest Coffee Morning”!

Like many of those in the Potter Universe, Rupert Grint is a big supporter of charities. This time he is showing support for those battling cancer, by contributing to a charity event called World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. The charity’s website states:

Catch up over a cuppa, enjoy some gorgeous treats – and the money you raise at your Coffee Morning will help us make sure no one has to face cancer alone. Sign up for your free Coffee Morning Kit, filled with everything you need to host a brilliant get together.

According to the site, last year’s fundraiser brought in over 25 million British pounds. You may sign up and donate to support the cause on the charities website. If you are in short supply of baking ideas, Rupert Grint has come to the rescue. Rupert showed his support by contributing a recipe to the site’s baking ideas. The recipe for Rupert’s Stem Ginger and Dark Chocolate Biscuits can be found on the website, here.


They look delicious.

The Ice Cream Man recommends doing so while watching the Celebrity Taste Makers episode starring Rupert Grint.

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16. The Harry Potter Alliance Celebrates 10th Birthday!

Over the past weekend (10th October), the Harry Potter Alliance celebrated its tenth birthday.

Their celebrations included a party at GeekyCon in August, and a month-long Indiegogo campaign (HPA10), through which they raised total of $106,545, well-surpassing their initial goal of $77,777.

NerdCon: Stories provided the venue for HPA’s birthday party, which featured important special guests such as Leaky’s own Melissa Anelli, (President of the Board), Paul DeGeorge (Co-Founder and Board member) and Hank Green and Maureen Johnson (long-term supporters of HPA), along with many more!

The event itself was full-Potter style (though the HPA itself now encompasses all manner of fandom). Harry and the Potters were the Wrock band for the night, and Hank Green played Accio Deathly Hallows, along with his other Harry Potter songs.

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The NerdCon event page stated:

‘ On October 10th, 2005, the Harry Potter Alliance held its first-ever event in Somerville, Massachusetts. Now, ten years later – and with the support of many people in the NerdCon: Stories community – the HPA has grown to a global organization with accomplishments under its belt such as sending five cargo planes of disaster relief supplies to Haiti, donating over 250,000 books around the world, and getting Warner Bros. to make all Harry Potter chocolate ethically sourced.

Come celebrate ten years of the HPA using fandom to make the world a better place and learn how to get involved for the next ten. Recommended attire: dress robes and/or party hats.’

Geeky News reports:

‘Over the years, the Harry Potter Alliance amassed a strong base of supporters and many volunteers. For a long time, that was entirely how the organization was run – by volunteers taking time away from their evenings and weekends, away from day jobs and school, to help make a little non-profit make a difference. I was one of those volunteers for several years. And the HPA highlighted a couple of hundreds  of them during the party. Some, like Claudia Morales and Jack Bird, are now paid employees. Morales, on talking about her reaction to becoming a staff member of the organization she had come to love: “It was like getting my Hogwarts letter.”’

‘Their success is a testament to the power of fandom to change the world for the better. The HPA is the true illustration of what powerful communities united around the passion for a common love of story can do in the world. And it was abundantly clear as several hundred people gathered in the Minneapolis Convention Center, to celebrate the organization that had brought them together.’

The Harry Potter Alliance is a non-profit organisation with the slogan ‘The Weapon We Have is Love’, and its website states:

‘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.’

You can read more on the event and see more photos here.

Join Leaky in wishing the Harry Potter Alliance a very happy 10th birthday, and a huge congratulations on their success so far!

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17. NYCC ’15: Miracle on Artist Alley as Winsor & Newton Blesses Creators with Hundreds of Free Markers

When the lights in New York Comic Con 2015’s Artist Alley dimmed low on Sunday, everyone thought that party was over.  As it turns out, the celebration was just getting started.  While artists packed their bags, Winsor & Newton, a prestigious art supply company in attendance the show, decided to give away their entire leftover stock of pigment markers to […]

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18. Matthew Lewis Surprises 200 kids on a Special Holidy

Matthew Lewis (who played the incredible Neville Longbottom) joined 200 children on their way to Universal for a special holiday. British Airway’s annual charity flight, Dreamflight, sends 200 hand-picked children with disabilities or illness on a special holiday. The children were accompanied by 100 doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and an unsuspecting special guest: “Neville!” BT reports:

More than 5,000 children from across the country have been involved in Dreamflight holidays since the first voyage in 1987. For many, it has been their first time abroad and also gives them a chance to have a holiday without their family.

They will visit a host of attractions, including SeaWorld, Disney World and Universal Studios.

The young passengers have been hand-picked to join the ten-day holiday by doctors and medical experts, having battled with serious illness, disability and trauma.

Lewis, 26, said: “I read about what Dreamflight was and how amazing it was going to be for these kids that I jumped at the chance to be here. It’s been the most amazing day, it’s been a pleasure.

“All these kids have been looking forward to this for a really long time. It just takes me back to when I was a kid and went over to Orlando and saw some amazing things.

“Some of these kids are so buzzing, and it just warms your heart so much to see their faces.”

Read more and see a video clip of the event at BT.com.

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19. Christmas Charity Anthology for Children!

Out today on Smashwords published by Crimson Cloak Publishing, soon to be released on Amazon Kindle then in paperback. Charity anthology of children’s stories, including two short tales of mine! ALL proceeds to charity. Makes a lovely stocking filler.

Santa's Little Helpers Anthology-Cover

Buy here on Smashwords

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20. Deluxe Illustrated Edition Signed by JKR and Jim Kay to be Auctioned for Charity

A deluxe illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, written by J.K. Rowling and illustrated by Jim Kay, will be auctioned off to benefit charity. The auction is intended to take place on December 17, at Sotheby’s London.

The book contains a unique dragon illustration, as well as the inscriptions, “The book that changed my life. J.K. Rowling” and “Mine too! Thank you Jo. Jim Kay.” The book will be auctioned off to benefit Lumos, the charity founded by J.K. Rowling that works for the deinstitutionalization of children, reunite families, and provide aid to families in order to continue caring for their children. The charity hopes to end the institutionalization of children, and give children their right to a family, globally by 2050.

Fine Books & Collections Magazine says of the auctioned item:


It is accompanied by a letter of provenance from the Publishing Director of Bloomsbury Children’s Books: “this is the first advance copy of the Deluxe Edition. It was hand bound ahead of the binding of the rest of the print run and sent from our printer in Italy… ready for signing by J.K. Rowling and Jim Kay.” 

Historic Harry Potter Prices at Sotheby’s

2007 saw the sale of J.K. Rowling’s “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” for an unprecedented £1,950,000 (est. £30,000-50,000). It was one of just seven copies of the book-each different from each other-hand-written and illustrated by J.K. Rowling.

In 2013, Sotheby’s auctioned the “Lumos Maxima” bracelet, a bespoke sterling silver charm bracelet made by Hamilton & Inches, based on designs by J.K Rowling and inspired by her Harry Potter books, for £20,000 (est. £15,000-20,000). The charms included Harry Potter’s bolt of lightning; glasses and broomstick; a Golden Snitch; Dark Mark skull set with amethyst eyes; Slytherin locket; a winged key; The Tales of Beedle the Bard book; the Sorting Hat; the Deathly Hallows symbol and a wand, which acts as the fastener. 100% of the net sale proceeds went directly to J.K. Rowling’s children’s charity, Lumos.


For more information about the auction, visit the original article, here.

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21. Signed Copy of J.K. Rowling’s New Crime Novel up for Auction

A signed copy of J.K. Rowling’s new crime novel, Career of Evil, was put up for auction. J.K. Rowling would probably approve of this donation from one of the lucky owners of a signed book, as the book was auctioned for a good cause, for local charity, Brighouse and Surrounding Homeless.

There are only 200 signed copies of the Robert Galbraith book, making the demand for this item at the silent auction very high. The book had a reserve of £1,000. Big House Echo recorded a statement about the charity being supported:


Alison Mitchell, chief Executive of BASH, said: “We provide an outreach service that connects those in need with the charities and services they may not have otherwise known about whilst offering food, clothing and friendly faces.

Thanks to donations we can provide food, drink and clothing. More importantly we can provide a listening ear.

The results from Friday’s auction have not been released. However, we hope that Career of Evil was able to at least break its reserve, and provide a lot of monetary donation for BASH.

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22. Band Aid (an infographic)

On this day in 1984, musical aficionados from the worlds of pop and rock came together to record the iconic ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ single for Band Aid. The single has gone down in history as an example of the power of music to help right the wrongs in the world. The song leapt to the number one spot over the Christmas of 1984, selling over a million copies in under a week and totalling sales of three million by the end of that year. The Band Aid super-group featured the cream of eighties pop, including David Bowie, Phil Collins, George Michael, Sting, Cliff Richard and Paul McCartney.

The sales target for the single was £70,000, all of which was to be donated to the African famine relief fund. With support from Radio 1 DJs and a Top of the Pops Christmas Special, sales sky-rocketed and Geldof, feeling the strength of public opinion behind him, went toe-to-toe with the conservative government in an attempt to have tax on the single waived. Margaret Thatcher initially refused the plea, but as public outcry grew, Thatcher caved-in to public demands and the tax on sales worth nearly £9 million was donated back to charity.

Bob Geldof and a host of artists old and new have re-recorded the single to help raise funds to stem the Ebola crisis. Our infographic marks the 30th anniversary of the original recording and illustrates the movers and shakers that made this monumental milestone in pop history possible.


To view free articles examining the cause, the people, and the music, you can open the graphic as a PDF.

Headline image credit: Live Aid at JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, 1985. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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23. Teens for Jeans

make_a_differenceKids Collect Jeans for Teens!

Over 1.5 million teens and children are homeless. One of the items they need most is a pair of jeans. YOU can make a difference by helping to clothe homeless youth.

Teens for Jeans is a campaign to help get YOU involved!

  • WHAT: Jeans. Check your closet for jeans that don’t fit you anymore. Run a drive at your school, place of worship, or local community center to collect as many pairs of jeans as you can!
  • WHERE: Drop off all pairs at your local Aéropostale or P.S. from Aéropostale clothing store.
  • WHEN: January 12th through February 16th, 2015

Make a difference!  This winter YOU can help collect jeans for kids and teens who really need them!

—Amanda, STACKS Intern

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24. Do unto others as they would want you to do

So we are back to my favorite topic - charity. In a previous write-up, I discussed how giving away money from a stockpile of it is not necessarily noble. By extension, the concept also applies to giving away time when you have a lot of it on your hands.

But it is not so. Giving of yourself - effort, emotional attention and time - is much more difficult than writing a check, and requires real commitment. Our values are sorely tested when you have to take time out of an already full day to go do something to bring succor to someone else. It is easier if that person is someone you care about, so friends and family are a different story altogether. But when it is someone you do not even know, or even relate to well, it calls on every bit of strength in your belief system. It is also a great way to test your own commitment to a cause.

 As difficult  as it is to reach out to an individual you cannot really connect with, in sympathy or otherwise, it becomes just as important to accept them and their needs. And that is a crucial factor in philanthropy. I have heard the common dictum that talks of finding your own cause, something that you feel for. I think that is a really misguided notion.The cause should be where the need is most dire. Because helping where help is needed most is what charity is all about. I might think kids need to be in school, but what the kids really need is food and clothing first. I cannot give them a book instead of bread just so I can feel good about myself, or because I had that extra book to give away. That is a gift, not charity

Another important part is being non-judgmental when assessing need. Wondering why a needy family does not manage time better, or have fewer kids, or be less whiny is not a factor in deciding their need. Charity in its purest form must be unselfish, and that means your prejudices and opinions should be irrelevant to the act of giving.

I believe the defining nature of any charitable act is the establishment of a feeling of hope in the receiver. Hope is not just an optimistic wish, or a pleasant vision of the future. It is also a reflection of joy and satisfaction in the present. So when you fulfill an immediate need, or remove an imminent distress, it gives the person such relief that it translates to hope - hope in the present day for a better day tomorrow. And that is why it is imperative and unquestionable that we provide for the requirement, irrespective of what we think or have or want to contribute.

Altruism  is predicated on doing good for others. It does not include the right to decide what is good for them, or to classify their needs according to our priorities. Or to withhold charity because of the recipient's attitude. It was Mother Theresa who put it so lucidly, "It's not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving."  And how much effort, she may have well added.

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25. Immoral philosophy

I call myself a moral philosopher. However, I sometimes worry that I might actually be an immoral philosopher. I worry that there might be something morally wrong with making the arguments I make. Let me explain.

When it comes to preventing poverty related deaths, it is almost universally agreed that Peter Singer is one of the good guys. His landmark 1971 article, “Famine, Affluence and Morality” (FAM), not only launched a rich new area of philosophical discussion, but also led to millions in donations to famine relief. In the month after Singer restated the argument from FAM in a piece in the New York Times, UNICEF and OXFAM claimed to have received about $660, 000 more than they usually took in from the phone numbers given in the piece. His organisation, “The Life You Can Save”, used to keep a running estimate of total donations generated. When I last checked the website on 13th February 2012, this figure stood at $62, 741, 848.

Singer argues that the typical person living in an affluent country is morally required to give most of his or her money away to prevent poverty related deaths. To fail to give as much as you can to charities that save children dying of poverty is every bit as bad as walking past a child drowning in a pond because you don’t want to ruin your new shoes. Singer argues that any difference between the child in the pond and the child dying of poverty is morally irrelevant, so failure to help must be morally equivalent. For an approachable version of his argument see Peter Unger, who developed and refined Singer’s arguments in his 1996 book, Living High and Letting Die.

I’ve argued that Singer and Unger are wrong: failing to donate to charity is not equivalent to walking past a drowning child. Morality does – and must – pay attention to features such as distance, personal connection and how many other people are in a position to help. I defend what seems to me to be the commonsense position that while most people are required to give much more than they currently do to charities such as Oxfam, they are not required to give the extreme proportions suggested by Singer and Unger.

Saving lives, by Oxfam East Africa, CC-BY-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

So, Singer and Unger are the good guys when it comes to debates on poverty-related death. I’m arguing that Singer and Unger are wrong. I’m arguing against the good guys. Does that make me one of the bad guys? It is true that my own position is that most people are required to give more than they do. But isn’t there still something morally dubious about arguing for weaker moral requirements to save lives? Singer and Unger’s position is clear and easy to understand. It offers a strong call to action that seems to actually work – to make people put their hands in their pockets. Isn’t it wrong to risk jeopardising that given the possibility that people will focus only on the arguments I give against extreme requirements to aid?

On reflection, I don’t think what I do is immoral philosophy. The job of moral philosophers is to help people to decide what to believe about moral issues on the basis of reasoned reflection. Moral philosophers provide arguments and critique the arguments of others. We won’t be able to do this properly if we shy away from attacking some arguments because it is good for people to believe them.

In addition, the Singer/Unger position doesn’t really offer a clear, simple conclusion about what to do. For Singer and Unger, there is a nice simple answer about what morality requires us to do: keep giving until giving more would cost us something more morally significant than the harm we could prevent; in other words, keep giving till you have given most of your money away. However, this doesn’t translate into a simple answer about what we should do, overall. For, on Singer’s view, we might not be rationally required or overall required to do what we are morally required to.

This need to separate moral requirements from overall requirements is a result of the extreme, impersonal view of morality espoused by Singer. The demands of Singer’s morality are so extreme it must sometimes be reasonable to ignore them. A more modest understanding of morality, which takes into account the agent’s special concern with what is near and dear to her, avoids this problem. Its demands are reasonable so cannot be reasonably ignored. Looked at in this way, my position gives a clearer and simpler answer to the question of what we should do in response to global poverty. It tells us both what is morally and rationally required. Providing such an answer surely can’t be immoral philosophy.

Headline image credit: Devil gate, Paris, by PHGCOM (Own work). CC-BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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