In this ever-evolving world climate, there are always needs to be met. Over the past few years, celebrity philanthropy has become more prevalent from unexpected sources, including creators on the YouTube platform. While YouTube is an often-criticized and misunderstood career field, it is important to recognize the impressive contributions and impact made by generous givers and their communities of subscribers.
One such influencer is Seán McLoughlin, known online as “Jacksepticeye”. Though he began his channel simply as a video gamer, he has evolved over time into a community advocate, role model and philanthropist. Since 2017 he has hosted livestreams every month for multiple charities, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Crisis Text Line and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Over $3 million has been raised in total so far.
In January 2020 his attention was drawn to those affected by the Australian bushfires. On Twitter he rallied his subscriber base, declaring, “Australia is burning and needs our help! It’s pretty terrifying to see the severity of the fires over there and I can’t imagine what it’s been like for those affected by it.”
First sparked by Australia’s hottest year on record, these fires have spread far and wide since September 2019. Over 26.2 million acres have been devastated, thousands of homes brought to the ground and over thirty people killed. Impact on wildlife has been staggering, with over 1 billion animals lost to the flames. Koalas are now considered endangered in some areas of the country.
Using this iconic Australian animal as inspiration, McLoughlin created specialized merchandise such as shirts and pins to draw attention to the country’s need. With these sales and livestream donations pouring in, he and his community blew past their initial $100,000 goal and collected over $200,000 in just four hours for GlobalGiving. This charity focuses its efforts on relieving survivors’ need for food, water, hygiene products, shelter and fuel.
McLoughlin’s friends and fellow YouTubers, Felix “Pewdiepie” Kjellberg and Ethan “Crankgameplays” Nestor, have also contributed significantly, proving that giving can be contagious.
“People are very giving by nature,” McLoughlin stated proudly, “and they just want to keep giving. You need to give them an outlet and a focal point to be able to do so.”