NET WORTH: $400 million, estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Best-selling author
FUNDING AREAS: Maine Community, Education & Libraries, Arts
OVERVIEW: Stephen Edwin King's philanthropy prioritizes the state of Maine, where he was born and lives with his wife, Tabitha. The Steven and Tabitha King Foundation has been around since 1986, and makes grants solely in the Maine community, in recent years giving away around $3 million annually. King and Tabitha strongly support their alma mater, the University of Maine, while other education philanthropy has supported local public schools and community libraries. King has also been a major supporter of local fire departments, and to a lesser extent human resource organizations.
BACKGROUND: Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine in 1947. He attended University of Maine at Orono, where he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper. He met his wife, Tabitha, at the university and the two married in 1971. King began teaching high school English classes at Hampden Academy while writing in the evenings and on the weekends. King made his first professional short story sale (The Glass Floor) to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. In the spring of 1973, Doubleday & Co. accepted the novel Carrie for publication. King has since gone on to write novels such as The Shining, Misery, The Green Mile, and The Dark Tower Series, among many others.
EDUCATION & LIBRARIES: King and Tabitha met at Raymond H. Folger Library at University of Maine while Tabitha was working there. The couple have given millions to their mutual alma mater, and some of King's works can be found at the library. But apart from University of Maine's library, other grantees include Charles M. Bailey Library in Winthrop, Portland Library, and the Dyer Library in Saco. King has also made grants to various public schools in the Maine School Administrative District and the Regional School Unit. The Kings have also supported Colby College, and York County Community College.
MAINE COMMUNITY: King has been a longtime supporter of the local fire department, with grants supporting the fire departments in communities such as Caribou, Cornish, and Denmark. The grants have rarely exceeded $30,000 annually. The couple have also supported local American Red Cross in recent years, with more modest sums going to outfits such as Amnesty International, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, and the Next Step Domestic Violence Project. Health is of some interest to this funder too, with grants supporting Oxford County Mental Health, Downeast Community Hospital, Eastern Maine Medical Center , and Merrill Memorial Hospital. Also, they have supported various civic projects such as a $1.4 million grant to the City of Bangor pool.
Finally, an element of the Kings' philanthropy involves conservation and preservation with recent grants supporting 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."
ARTS: They couple have supported Portland Ballet, Bangor Symphony, and Everyman Repertory Theatre.
LOOKING AHEAD: King's philanthropy has prioritized his home state of Maine for years and that is unlikely to change. The couple also has a residence in Florida, which might spark grantmaking in that region down the line.