YouTuber fundraises $12 million to plant 20 million trees

Planting trees reduces carbon footprint

Months back, a Reddit user sent an informal challenge to YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson (better known as Mr. Beast) to plant 20 million trees as a commemoration for reaching 20 million subscribers to his channel.

Donaldson, whose over-the-top stunts have become a pillar in the world of YouTube entertainment, accepted. Soon afterward, he rallied a fundraising initiative that has successfully garnered over $12 million—and it’s still growing by the day.

The TeamTrees Project

By collaborating with a group of popular content creators on the platform, the TeamTrees project was created.

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Promoted by YouTubers like Donaldson, the project gives donors the opportunity to chip in a dollar per tree to reach the team’s $20 million goal. All donations sent to the project are directly forwarded to the Arbor Day Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to growing trees. The organization will begin planting the trees in January 2020 and hopes to finish planting all 20 million sometime in 2023.

However, it doesn’t seem like there’s much doubt about whether that $20 million goal is going to be met.

MrBeast Rises to the Challenge

Donaldson, who has over 10 million views on every video he’s uploaded throughout the past year, began gaining serious YouTube notoriety back in 2017.

He set strangely mundane goals, like reading every word in the dictionary, and uploaded videos of himself accomplishing the task. Some of these videos could go on for 12 hours. Nonetheless, as time went on and his popularity grew, Donaldson began ramping up the stunts. From buying literally everything in a store to hosting a “last person to remove their hand” contest for a house, his channel has it all.

This style of content helped Donaldson go from 100,000 subscribers in 2017, to 25 million today in 2019. So, when a Reddit user challenged Donaldson with this tree planting initiative, it seemed right up his alley.

A Surprising Stream of Donations

The TeamTrees project launched on October 25th, and over $5 million was sent in within the first two days. Of that number, $1.75 million was sent specifically through YouTube’s website, which TeamTrees marks as a record for the platform.

But that’s only the first 48 hours.

Since then, massive donations from CEOs like Tesla’s Elon Musk, Shopify’s Tobi Lütke, and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey have come in. Some donations were as high as $1 million (notably Lütke’s donation surpassed Musk’s by a dollar with a $1,000,001 contribution). Even YouTube’s own CEO, Susan Wojcicki, donated $200,000 this Wednesday.

Altogether this means that the fundraiser has garnered over $12 million in less than a week. With two months until the deadline, and such big names shining a spotlight on TeamTrees, success is all but guaranteed.