In less than two months a viral social media campaign #TeamTrees run by YouTube creators Jimmy Donaldson (aka MrBeast) and Mark Rober has raised US$20 million to plant 20 million trees around the globe.
The #TeamTrees campaign came to life when the online community challenged 21-year-old Donaldson to plant 20 million trees to commemorate hitting 20 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. MrBeast’s Generation Z fans then suggested he join forces with other online influencers to drive awareness, including YouTubers Mark Rober (8.7 million subscribers), Guava Juice (14.6 million), Marques Brownlee (9.5 million), Smarter Every Day (7.4 million), Ninja (22.4 million), Jacksepticeye (22.9 million) and more. Donaldson and Rober engaged the Arbor Day Foundation, aware that the organisation had recently launched the Time for Trees initiative and is a consistent, trusted leader in tree planting of this scale.
#TeamTrees is the largest crowdfunding effort in YouTube’s history and one of the fastest-growing environmental fundraising initiatives to-date. Donaldson made a video to announce the campaign which has been watched more than 26 million times.
We did it!! Thank you so much to the over 500,000 different people that donated and the hundreds of influential people that promoted the campaign! Teamtrees was more than planting 20 million trees, it was a movement that shows we care and we want to make change 🥺❤️ pic.twitter.com/SR2CvD4bZU
— MrBeast (@MrBeastYT) December 19, 2019
The Arbor Day Foundation, the largest nonprofit membership organisation dedicated to planting trees, announced that at 3:28 pm CT on 19 December, #TeamTrees reached its goal of raising US$20 million to plant 20 million trees, beating the initial goal of 1 January. 2020.
“#TeamTrees is a prime example of youth leadership – especially the Gen Z ‘Change Generation’ – moving beyond retweet activism and harnessing the power of social media to address key societal issues,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “The 20 million trees planted through this campaign will absorb and store 1.6 million tons of carbon, the equivalent of taking 1.24 million cars off the road for a year.”
More than half-a-million individual donations were collected over the course of 56 days. Inspired by this grassroots movement, industry tech leaders, including Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey and Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke donated between 200,000 to 1,000,001 trees each.
“When Mark (Rober) and I started this campaign, we couldn’t have predicted the incredible support #TeamTrees would receive,” said Donaldson, YouTuber and philanthropist. “From hundreds of YouTube creators, to the biggest names in Silicon Valley, to kids holding bake sales, a huge team came together to make this possible. This is a big win for the planet.”
The trees will be planted across the globe in a variety of forests on both public and private lands in areas of great need, including state and national forests managed by government agencies. While the final list of all planting locations is still in development, the first wave of tree planting projects will be distributed throughout the US, Europe and Africa. All trees funded through #TeamTrees will be planted by December 2021.
The campaign will continue to collect donations beyond 1 January, 2020, the original deadline for #TeamTrees. As with the first $20 million, every additional dollar will plant a tree and contribute to the Arbor Day Foundation’s ongoing Time for Trees initiative — a commitment to planting 100 million trees by 2022.
To learn more or to donate, visit teamtrees.org.