Writer Stephen King has made a killing with his unique brand of suspense and horror books. King's net worth has been estimated at upwards of $400 million, which goes to show the kinds of fortunes that those at the top of the writing food chain can amass these days. Of course, this is the general theme of our Glitzy Giving section, but extends not only to media moguls like Ted Turner, but to writers as well.
Anyone who's ever read a Stephen King novel knows that he has penchant for New England—Maine to be specific. A number of King's works have been set in the region including the novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption, which was turned into the 1994 classic film the Shawshank Redemption.
King was born and raised in Maine, and he and his wife Tabitha still spend much of the year in the state. And King's interest in the Pine Tree State isn't just apparent in his books, but in his philanthropy. Indeed, the Steven and Tabitha King Foundation has been around since 1986, and has kept its charitable sights square on the state of Maine. Here's what you need to know about Stephen King's philanthropy:
1. Supporting Education and Libraries Is a High Priority
A writer who cares about libraries and education at large? Who would have thought?
Still, King's philanthropy in these two areas goes behind simply being a prolific scribe. For one thing, King has been a strong supporter of the University of Maine, with millions going to the university over the years. In fact, King attended University of Maine, as did his wife, Tabitha and the two met at Raymond H. Folger Library on campus. Like a lot of alumni giving, the story here is personal.
What's more, the couple's soft spot for libraries extends beyond the university. A steady stream of money has flowed to libraries throughout Maine including the Charles M. Bailey Library in Winthrop, Portland Library, and the Dyer Library in Saco. King has also given money to various public schools in the Maine School Administrative District and the Regional School Unit. In higher education, apart from the couple's alma mater, the Kings have also given money to Colby College, Maine College of Art, University of New England, and York County Community College.
2. Maine's Fire Departments Have a Friend in the Kings
The Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation's grant recipients include a long list of local fire departments in Maine. Start at Brooks Volunteer Fire Department, pit stop at Herbon Fire Department, and conclude at Winterport Fire Department. The Kings likely have every letter of the alphabet covered. In 2013 alone, 26 fire departments across the state of Maine were supported by the Kings, with grant amounts ranging from around $1,000 up to $50,000.
3. Health, Art & Preservation/Conservation Are Other Interests
In health, recent money has gone to Oxford County Mental Health, Downeast Community Hospital, and Merill Memorial Hospital. In addition, Eastern Maine Medical Center has received at least $750,000. In the arts, King has been a supporter of the Portland Ballet, Bangor Symphony, and Everyman Reperatory Theatre. Recent support has gone to the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, Lincolnville Historical Society, and Royal River Conservation Trust which has "conserved 3300 acres of land, farms, and trails on the Royal River and its headwater ponds, hills, and neighborhoods."
King and Tabitha have certainly homed in on the state of Maine in their philanthropy so far, but with a residence in Florida, perhaps their philanthropy will expand in time. For now, those interested in applying for a grant should be located in Maine, and can start the application process here.
Related: Stephen King Gitzy Giving Guide