Influencers Team Up with 800,000 Small-Dollar Donors to Support Arbor Day Foundation’s Global Reforestation Projects
LINCOLN, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#TeamTrees–Superstar YouTubers MrBeast (107M+ subscribers) and Mark Rober (22M+ subscribers) announced today that their #TeamTrees charity campaign has successfully planted more than 20 million trees around the world. The achievement fulfills the campaign’s founding promise to plant 20 million trees by the end of 2022 – one tree planted for every dollar donated by supporters.
The 20 million trees confirmed today have been planted in 30 countries and 11 U.S. states through an ongoing planting partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation. #TeamTrees projects range from the towering heights of the Andes mountains in Peru to the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in the mangrove forests of Brazil. In Paradise, California, #TeamTrees supported reforestation efforts in the aftermath of one of the most destructive wildfires in U.S. history. A full list of locations is available at https://teamtrees.org/planting.
#TeamTrees launched three years ago (on October 25, 2019) through an unprecedented wave of YouTube videos made by hundreds of the internet’s top content-creators. Thousands of video and social posts spread one unified call-to-action: give $1 to plant one tree.
The campaign was inspired by a MrBeast fan on Reddit, who suggested that the creator plant 20 million trees to celebrate reaching 20 million YouTube subscribers. MrBeast then teamed up with ex-NASA engineer turned YouTube creator, Mark Rober, to recruit and organize their influencer peers and engage a massive collective audience.
Despite few successful precedents other than the Ice Bucket Challenge, the campaign set an audacious fundraising target of crowdfunding $20,000,000 by January 1, 2020. #TeamTrees defied the odds and met its $20M funding goal in just 56 days, powered by more than 800,000 donors from 200+ countries and territories. While the campaign drew support from notable tech founders like Elon Musk (Tesla), Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Tobi Lutke (Shopify) and Marc Benioff (Salesforce), the vast majority of funds came from small-dollar donors. The most common donation amount was $5.
From its YouTube origins, #TeamTrees spread quickly across the internet to earn over a billion organic views across platforms. Participating videos covered everything from planting 20 million trees in Minecraft, to building “a tree-planting cannon,” to tree love songs. A single livestream by Jacksepticeye raised $154,000 from 9,000 donors in a matter of hours. Redditors made memes to spread the word, gamers held benefit live-streams on Twitch, students organized fundraiser bake sales, and kids asked for trees for Christmas. Elon Musk gave a million dollars in response to a tweet and then changed his Twitter display name to Treelon.
“We took over the internet to plant 20 million trees,” said Jimmy ‘MrBeast’ Donaldson. “And now 20 million trees are in the ground! This is more than just hashtag activism.”
“Kids donated their tooth fairy money, bugged their parents and organized their schools,” said Mark Rober. “Whether you donated $1 or just told a friend, you’re on the team for planet earth.”
Even years later, supporters visit TeamTrees.org every day to plant trees and add their voice to the cause. A sequel campaign, #TeamSeas (teamseas.org), launched in 2021 in support of ocean and river cleanup. #TeamTrees has raised over $24M to-date and every dollar continues to plant a tree.
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation is the world’s largest tree-planting membership organization. Every #TeamTrees tree was planted according to the Arbor Day Foundation’s industry-leading best practices and its principle of ‘right tree, right time, right place.’
“We are incredibly proud to be the official planting partner for #TeamTrees,” said Dan Lambe, CEO of the Arbor Day Foundation. “The internet came together to place its trust in this effort and these 20 million trees in the ground are proof it was well-placed.”
U.S. Forest Service models show the environmental impact of planting 20 million trees is like taking 1.24 million cars off the road for a year. Those trees will clean our air, filter our water, and anchor forest ecosystems.
“We said all along that planting trees isn’t a silver bullet for climate change, but trees are a key part of the solution. What’s even more important is inviting people into collective action for the planet. This is a moment when we need all the help we can get,” said Matt Fitzgerald, #TeamTrees Co-Founder & Campaign Director. “Now imagine what this team could do next.”