Brian Lewis, better known as the Professor of Magic: The Gathering-focused YouTube channel Tolarian Community College, organised a fundraising auction on February 25th to support Trans Lifeline - it accrued $228,932 over the weekend.
“Your gift will be used to fund the only peer-support Hotline in North America that is led and operated entirely by trans people,” the fundraiser’s description reads. “It will also provide Microgrants to help trans people are are [sic] imprisoned, detained, in the immigration process, or who are trying to legally change their name and gender.”
Lewis began the auction with the grand prize of two booster boxes from the 2020 Double Masters set - a draft-focused release themed on doubling mechanics and containing an additional rare in each booster pack. Within hours, community members began donating pieces of their own collections as auction items, from playsets of old and valuable cards to foreign-language prints and more booster boxes.
By the end of the first day, the fundraiser had netted approximately $75,000, and that figure doubled by the end of February 27th. Lewis posted a video statement to Twitter after passing the six-figure mark, fairly giddy with excitement. “Do not say that I did this. You did this, every single one of you,” he said. “Thank you all so much.”
Tolarian Community College fans are no stranger to crowdsourced philanthropy. A similar event last year managed to raise $124,517 for Trans Lifeline, meaning Lewis and his community nearly doubled their donation in 2021. He also recently sold $140,000 worth of rare cards in support of Saving Our Sons and Sisters International and the Trans Women of Color Collective.
Lewis’ YouTube channel focuses on teaching Magic: The Gathering concepts to players of various skill levels, along with product reviews and other consumer advocacy. His inclusive and friendly attitude, staunch support of local game stores and seemingly endless closet of suits have engendered him to players of the collectible card game.
Trans Lifeline tweeted about the weekend’s fundraising event, saying the amount would single-handedly fund the organisation’s Spanish Extension for an entire year. The grassroots hotline provides emotional support to the trans community through its phone lines, along with microgrants to community groups that directly better the lives of trans people in cities across the world - including bail bonds, necessary medical aid and funding legal name changes.