YouTubers Dan & Phil raise thousands for humanitarian aid during livestream

A selfie of Phil Lester and Dan Howell wearing birthday hats, surrounded by screenshots of tweets congratulating them on their fundraiser

Dan Howell and Phil Lester have been YouTube content creators for nearly two decades, building a dedicated fanbase of both their individual videos and their joint gaming channel, DanAndPhilGAMES.

While the duo’s gaming channel was on hiatus for about five years, it was reborn in the fall of 2023, and they’re back with gusto, mobilizing their 2.8+ million subscribers for good. 

For Lester’s birthday on January 30, the pair hosted a livestream on their shared channel, with the intention of raising funds for the Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund

“Obviously this is Phil’s birthday, and we want the vibes to be high; this is about all of you guys and us having a nice time, and we’re going to do a variety of shenanigans, but this is [also] about something that’s more important,” Howell started at the top of the two-hour stream.

“The situation in Gaza is terrible. There have been over 26,000 people who have died, and 10,000 of them are children. … The Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund, they provide the most essential services, humanitarian aid, blankets, medical supplies, and it really makes a difference.”

By this point, the livestream had been available for under three minutes, and the donation total had reached $9,000.

A screenshot of Dan and Phil's birthday livestream on Youtube, where the two wear polka dot birthday hats and smile at the camera
Photo courtesy of DanAndPhilGAMES/YouTube

“We’re here to entertain you, and hopefully in the form of entertaining you, we’ll raise some money,” Lester chimed in.

The two-hour stream did indeed consist of a variety of shenanigans, which included some incentives to increase donation totals. 

The first incentive, which was a birthday cake “reveal,” happened immediately, since Dan and Phil had aimed to begin their incentives after raising $1,000, which was surpassed tenfold before they even began. 

“I’m so shocked by all of you,” Howell said, as donations came pouring in.

A screenshot of Dan and Phil playing Mario Kart on a YouTube livestream
Photo courtesy of DanAndPhilGAMES/YouTube

The stream continued, with Lester showing off some of his birthday gifts, answering some audience questions, and of course, some gaming. 

With their controllers out, the donations continued, with some big figures, but mostly small $5 increments from a large audience of fans.

“Everyone who donates generously, you’re showing where your heart lies and what your priorities are, and it’s a very beautiful gesture,” Howell said, mid game-play. “But to the people donating just $5 at a time, that’s what is driving us all as a community. Thank you so much.” 

“I wish we could read them all out,” Lester said. “They’re just coming in so fast.”

Ultimately, at the end of the two-hour livestream, Phil blew out the candles on his cake, and the pair had raised a total of $83,000 for the PCRF.

“Guys, I could cry,” Lester said. “That’s so incredible.”

Phil Lester blows out the candles of a birthday cake in a YouTube livestream
Photo courtesy of DanAndPhilGAMES/YouTube

Just 19 hours after the livestream, Dan and Phil’s channel showed a total of over $100,000 raised for the humanitarian organization.

While the YouTubers led this altruistic endeavor, it was their community of fans who rallied to make it a success.

“From a Palestinian, thank you so much Phil,” one person tweeted after the livestream. “After watching your videos for 13 years now, i know that my time was not wasted and my love was not for nothing, what you and Dan did today was monumental, thank you.”

“The stream was so fun, and I’m so proud of our community for raising so much money for the PCRF,” another fan wrote.

“Congratulations on an incredible birthday stream,” someone else chimed in. “Your kindness and the support of your audience make a meaningful impact. Here’s to making a difference together!”

Header image courtesy of Phil Lester/X

Article Details

January 31, 2024 9:01 AM
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