MrBeast is the mayor of Greenville, North Carolina
The Future. MrBeast (real name Jimmy Donaldson) has funneled his huge YouTube success and the tons of revenue it generates back into his hometown of Greenville, which has made him a friend of residents, businesses, and the local government. While most influencers flock to more opportune pastures like L.A. or NYC, Donaldson’s choice to stay rooted could act as a blueprint for how influencer culture can be wielded for good in smaller cities all over America.
Password to the city
MrBeast’s online success (96 million subscribers, 15 billion views on just his main YouTube channel, and over $54 million in revenue last year) has made him a hometown hero, according to Insider.
Here’s some of his impact in Greenville:
- Money in pockets. Donaldson has pulled almost all his stunts — paying $2,000 to participants in his Squid Game parody for a couple days of work, tipping a waitress $10,000, giving out a Lamborghini, etc. — in his hometown, creating the vibe that anyone can be surprised with cash or cars at a moment’s notice.
- Boost to businesses. After appearing in several videos, hot dog joint Sup Dogs allows Donaldson to take over the restaurant whenever he pleases, even without notice — his business has seen a 25% annual increase in revenue since 2017. And when Donaldson shows up on Sunday nights to watch a football game, 200 extra people will show up.
- Backing from the mayor. Donaldson and his team have a call with Mayor PJ Connelly once or twice a month “mostly to consult on any projects that involve city resources.” Connelly is a big fan because Donaldson employs people in Greenville, props up the businesses of Greenville, and keeps the generated revenue in Greenville.
Even more free
Additionally, Donaldson launched an actual charity organization, Beast Philanthropy, in 2020. The charity does a bi-weekly food drive and, according to executive director Darren Margolias, “has put money back into 16 communities in and around Greenville.” Other than the food, that includes over 750 laptops and iPads for underprivileged students and $400,000 worth of winter clothing.
But the giving doesn’t stop there. All of the revenue generated from Donaldson’s Philanthropy YouTube channel goes back into the charity, to which Donaldson has poured $1.5 million of his own money. Leave it to MrBeast to make giving go viral.