Jimmy Donaldson, better known as MrBeast, is the world’s highest-paid YouTuber, and as Fortune reported earlier this year, he has quickly become the face of “stunt philanthropy.” As he wrote on Twitter in 2020: “I promise I’m dying with 0 dollars in my bank account and I refuse to live a materialistic life.” While his giving ranges from supporting Ukrainian refugees to supplying hearing aids to 1,000 people around the world, it also includes generating viral support for environmental initiatives. In 2019, for example, he started a fundraiser for tree planting and restoration called #teamtrees which wound up garnering 4.6 billion views across 550 thousand Instagram and Twitter posts. Notable corporations and high-net-worth individuals contributed to the campaign, including Elon Musk, Shopify, and YouTube The project raised a total $24 million and as of October 2022 planted some 20 million trees. As a follow up, he launched #teamseas in 2021, which has so far raised over $30 million for Ocean Conservancy and The Ocean Cleanup to remove trash from oceans and waterways
This summer he partnered with solar company Better Earth to boost renewable energy in Colombia. And in November he posted a video saying he helped build 100 wells across Africa to support clean drinking water. The response was a mix of praise for taking action, but also a warning that successful sustainability efforts require more than a one-off “handout”. Posting on X (formerly Twitter), Donaldson said “I already know I’m going to get canceled because I uploaded a video helping people, and to be 100% clear, I don’t care.”
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