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Imagine Dragons' bassist donates thousands to local charities, nonprofits

2019 BottleRock Napa Valley Music Festival
Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP
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Ben McKee of Imagine Dragons performs at the Bottle Rock Napa Valley Music Festival at Napa Valley Expo on Friday, May 24, 2019, in Napa, Calif.

To people outside the world of fame and fortune, it sometimes feels like those who have reached those heights forget how they got there, or who supported them on the way.

Ben McKee, bassist for the world-famous Imagine Dragons, which started in Las Vegas more than a decade ago, didn’t forget.

For the last year, he’s given out $1,000 a day to a variety of charities and nonprofits affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I had been kind of feeling like we had been in this holding pattern, like my whole life went to a holding pattern when we stopped being able to tour,” he said. “I had been in a place of feeling frustrated … seeing things go from bad to worse every day in the newspaper.”

With the Tyler Robinson Foundation, he says he saw how they were suffering as a result of a lack of income and “needed to do something.”
McKee donated $1,000 per day for 365 days to organizations hurt economically by the pandemic. 

McKee says he used his biggest platform, as a member of Imagine Dragons on Twitter, to conduct his charity. “I would go and try to find a cause that seemed like it was fighting against something that needed to be addressed right then,” like a wildfire, he said.

“At some point in our careers we all became very aware of how fortunate we are to be doing what we’re doing, … and the power that comes along with that to be able to give back,” he said. 

Ben McKee, bassist, Imagine Dragons

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.