Right now, a bunch of nerds on YouTube are deciding how to divvy up the $700,000 they have raised in two days.
Okay, what’s going on?
The Project for Awesome, or P4A, is an annual movement where YouTubers upload videos promoting their favorite charities on December 17 and 18 while fundraising and viewing one another’s videos through a 48-hour livestream. Hank and John Green, also known as the Vlogbrothers, started the P4A in 2007 with support from their viewers, who call themselves the “nerdfighters.” Over the years, the nerdfighting community has grown to encompass a broad Internet subculture, but it has remained centered around YouTube and its mainly educational content.
The money raised during the P4A is held by the Foundation to Decrease Worldsuck (seriously) before being distributed to ten charities, voted on by P4A participants. P4A mainly raises money using IndieGoGo, where donors can contribute in return for perks donated by YouTubers and other artists. This year’s perks include the just-released movie poster for The Fault in Our Stars, based on the book by John Green, all the way to an original painting done by science educator (and former art major) Emily Graslie. However, anonymous matching donors as well as the Foundation’s own directors — the Green brothers, their father Mike Green, and collaborators Benny Fine, Valerie Barr, and Michael Gardner — have increased the total, doubling donors’ contributions and adding a penny for every comment on a P4A video and every #P4A hashtag on Twitter.
In 2012, P4A raised over $450,000, which was distributed to charities like the Uncultured Project, which focuses on poverty and education in Bangladesh; the Harry Potter Alliance, which uses the media to fight inequality, illiteracy, and human rights violations; and Save the Children, which does everything from disaster response to HIV-AIDS work.
This year’s P4A ends today at noon, with the ten charities to be awarded equal portions of the money to be announced afterwards. Some of the most popular videos at the moment are for Not Forgotten (fighting human trafficking in Peru), Liberty in North Korea (“underground railroad” and resettlement of North Korean refugees), and Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (pretty much what it says on the tin).
Not that we’re biased, but at least two NYU students have made P4A videos that you should totally check out: Amelia Burger, LS ’16, is all about the American Camp Association & Camperships, while yours truly hit up Barnes & Noble Union Square to talk about Project Mexico and Saint Innocent’s Orphanage.
Are you participating in this year’s Project for Awesome? Tell us about it in the comments!