This week’s guest is Marcus Daniell, a world No. 41-ranked doubles star with a much bigger purpose in life than tennis. The 31-year-old has made it his mission to help others through charitable work, and founded High Impact Athletes last year to help athletes give back in better ways.
Daniell hails from New Zealand and opted against college tennis to turn pro. He began focusing on only doubles in 2015, and has won five ATP doubles titles. Just last month, he broke through at the Grand Slam level by reaching the quarterfinals of the Australian Open (with Philipp Oswald).
Philanthropy has always been a part of Daniell’s life and as his tennis career earnings grew, so did his donations. He has been donating a portion of his earnings each season, and this year, he became a member of Giving What We Can, where members pledge to give 10 percent of their income to charities. Daniell explains it’s not just about how much you choose to donate, it’s about where.
During the tour shutdown in 2020, he discovered effective altruism, a philosophy that advocates using evidence and reasoning to determine the most effective ways to benefit others. That same year, High Impact Athletes was born. The purpose of Daniell’s organization is to connect athletes and the general public with the most effective, evidence-based non-profits in the world. Over 30 athletes have joined HIA including Stefanos Tsitsipas, Milos Raonic and Rajeev Ram. The main areas of focus are animal welfare, extreme poverty and climate change, all of which Daniell is passionate about.
“I stared thinking how can I do more and I didn’t feel I could up my pledge, like I didn’t feel like I could donate more money because I just didn’t think I was going to earn more money that year,” Daniell says. “So I started thinking more on the advocacy side of things and thought OK what is the best way that I can try to bring more people along with me.”
He explains how he got into tennis and philanthropy, how he’s combined those two loves, and why effective altruism is so important to helping better the world.
“What I landed on was starting an organization, starting a brand,” he says. “And trying to leverage my connections and my relationships in the sporting world to try and bring effective giving into the total sporting arena. “
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