Our YouTube spotlight this month is highlighting one of the most popular YouTubers today who has been increasing in subscribers and views over the last couple of years and is constantly trending on the website. I’m talking about Jimmy Donaldson, who goes by MrBeast.
MrBeast was first created in 2012 and has widely changed since then, with over 41 million subscribers and more than six billion views. At first the channel was a gaming channel where he played Minecraft and Pokémon, among others. Over the next few years the channel slowly went from gaming commentary to blogging and doing insane challenges like counting to 100,000 and spinning a fidget spinner for 24 hours.
Donaldson’s channel really started to grow after he uploaded his video “I Bought Every Billboard In My City For This” in 2018 to help then-YouTube’s most-subscribed, PewDiePie, keep his title by buying billboards and ads in his city so people can subscribe to him, doing radio interviews as well and going to college campuses to get students to subscribe. Donaldson would then also be noticed at the following Super Bowl by wearing t-shirts along with his friends to tell people to subscribe to PewDiePie.
Half of the videos Donaldson makes today are videos where he gives back to people in his community. Whether it’s opening a free store, a very cheap car dealership, buying everything in a store to give to shelters, or during the pandemic where he’s given thousands of dollars to people who lost their jobs and spent millions of dollars on food to give to food pantries. He has also flown fans out to compete in challenges like a big Monopoly game or doing four different challenges involving different fans so the winner of each challenge gets to compete for a million dollars.
A lot of videos involve Donaldson’s friends, specifically Chandler Hallow, Chris Tyson, and Karl Jacobs, among others. Donaldson and his friends have done videos where they live in a jail cell for 24 hours, they win all the prizes in a theme park, extreme hide-and-seek challenges, spending 24 hours in a doomsday bunker, and adopting every dog in a dog shelter.
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Donaldson, Hallow, Tyson, and Jacobs started a gaming channel last April to keep fans entertained during quarantine. The channel mostly consists of challenges on Minecraft that fans partake in through a Discord server, but the four of them also participate in their own challenges or play different games like Grand Theft Auto. It has over six million subscribers and 310 million views in just four months. The four have vowed to all get tattoos if the channel reaches 10 million subscribers by the end of the year.
Earlier this month, Donaldson gave fans an update on Twitter about setting up his first food bank, looking at warehouses and talking to other people that run charities to educate himself.
“My goal is to make a new vlog channel where I vlog running my charities. All the ad rev, merch sales, brand deals, etc will go towards feeding/helping people in the charities! I honestly think we could support multiple communities with this.”
He also tweeted that he wants to build other channels like his gaming channel so he can run his main channel at a loss and grow as big as possible. Then, he wants to use his main channel’s influence to one day open hundreds of homeless shelters/food banks and give away all the money.
Late last year, Donaldson began Team Trees, a fundraiser to plant 20 million trees for 2020. For every $1 raised, the Arbor Day Foundation planted one tree. With help from fans, fellow YouTubers, and YouTube themselves, the fundraiser reached its goal of 20 million trees in less than two months, with people still continuing to donate. Today, the foundation is currently at over 22 million trees planted.
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Over the course of eight years, Jimmy Donaldson has made one thing clear: He doesn’t care about the money. He gives it away to people in his community, people who need it, fans, his friends, his family. He made special limited edition 40 million subscriber shirts and hoodies available for just 24 hours, signed by himself and his crew, so he can get enough money to make a big 40 million subscriber video. He gives away money, cars, gaming systems, houses, and more. He says he doesn’t care about materialistic things. He wants to do good, and he has.
It’s also clear that MrBeast and his crew are here to stay for a long time, gaining even more subscribers, trending every week, and giving away more money and other items, helping more people, doing more insane challenges. There’s no doubt that he’ll be opening up a food pantry or shelter in the near future, and I am excited to see the progress.
For Shark Week, Donaldson and his crew teamed up with shark expert Luke Tipple to take on a special 24-hour shark challenge. You can watch the full episode on Discovery GO here. Follow MrBeast on Twitter, Instagram, and subscribe to him on YouTube if you want to watch more crazy challenges and see all the good he does. Also subscribe to MrBeast Gaming to see what fun the boys are up to.