Most people in their twenties are either in school, getting an education, or starting a career. Large-scale philanthropy is probably the last thing on their minds, owing mainly to a deficit of funds and means.
But 25-year-old Jimmy Donaldson doesn’t think twice before handing out thousands of dollars in cash to the needy and underprivileged. To say that he’s a big-time YouTuber is putting it mildly. He goes by the name MrBeat and has a massive following with over 151 million YouTube subscribers and over 37 million followers on Instagram. His is the fourth most subscribed channel on YouTube and is recognized as the highest earner on the platform, as per Forbes. In February, Interesting Engineering reported how the YouTuber helped 1,000 people get free cataract surgery.
He has pulled off similar philanthropy stunts with clickbait video titles, like paying a waitress a $10,000 tip, giving $100,000 to people who had lost their jobs during the pandemic, providing hearing aids to 1,000 deaf people while also giving them $10,000 in cash, helping 2,000 amputees walk again and giving 20,000 pairs of shoes to kids in Africa. The production cost of each video that he uploads on YouTube costs somewhere around $1 million.
In his latest stunt, he announced on Instagram that he’d be giving away $50,000 to five followers ($10,000 each) if they shared his story and tagged someone in the comments. His post has beaten the record for most likes and most comments on an Instagram post.
MrBeast makes more than a living through hefty sponsorship deals, his merch shop, from which he earns half a million dollars per month, and YouTube ad revenue.
In an interview with the Rolling Stones last year, Donaldson says he doesn’t “give a f*** about money” and plans to give it all away before he dies. “I don’t want to live my life chasing from the next shiny object to the next shiny object. It’s a sad, miserable way to go about life.”
After the success of his main channel, he also started ‘Beast Philanthropy,’ which contributes all of its revenue to nonprofits that operate mobile food donations in eastern North Carolina. Given that piles and piles of cash are lying around in his home at any given time, there have been break-in attempts at his house, along with other security concerns. He has since moved into a gated community with bulletproof windows and triple-steel reinforced doors. Additionally, he's always accompanied by a bodyguard whenever he steps out.
Donaldson rose to fame when he spent approximately $4 million dollars to recreate Squid Game and awarded the winner a $456,000 prize. The video has over 416 million views as of today.
But it’s not all fun and games at Donaldson’s North Carolina pad. There have been accusations of a toxic and difficult work environment by former employees. Donaldson also ran into some trouble in 2016 for a transphobic post in which he said he sexually identified as an attack helicopter and a tank.