On a grey and drizzly New York afternoon, tourists were chattering and chuntering their way up and down the Empire State building Thursday when the lobby came to a brief halt. “What’re all the paparazzi doing?” said a passerby. They were poised, cameras at the ready, like Rita Skeeter with her quick quotes quill.
JK Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter books, stepped out in front of the white flash of cameras. “Lumos is a spell that I created with the Harry Potter books,” she said, “To bring light to very dark and frightening places.” And Lumos is also the name of her organization, which plans to find homes for the eight million institutionalized children globally by 2050. Thursday marked the launch of the British charity’s U.S. branch.
Lumos plans to use this launch to fundraise and change donating patterns. “What we want to do is make sure that philanthropists are doing the best they possibly can with their money,” said Lumos CEO Georgette Mulheir. “To ensure that people move away from giving to orphanages and instead give to family and community based services.”
Under the management of Mulheir and Rowling, Lumos has a strong backing and high ambitions. Rowling donated to Lumos all proceeds from her book The Tales of Beedle the Bard – a short children’s fiction that forms the basis of the action in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. This raised more than $2 million for the charity.
Rowling finished her announcement with words from one of the great intellectuals of our time. “To quote Albus Dumbledore, which I am allowed to do, ‘Happiness can be found in the darkest places, if one only remembers to turn on the light.’”