Well, if you’ve heard one “false tweet leading to a $100,000 donation by the CEO of a major sports betting company leading to a school being built in Pakistan” story, you’ve heard ‘em all, but this one is a doozy.
It was Nov. 30 of last year that Alex Frantz — AFrantzie on Twitter, and a former PointsBet oddsmaker — inadvertently started the process that culminated in some 50 children in Pakistan getting a brand new school and an education they would not have otherwise received. His since-deleted tweet read, “Is this the most obvious Jason Robins burner of all time? 39 tweets all responses to negative things about Jason/DK. 10 followers with Jason being one lol.”
In short: It looked like DraftKings CEO Jason Robins had a burner account.
Probably because this is Robins burner account. Why else would Jason robins follow @GazipuraMo and respond to almost every one of his posts?
— Marcus (@Marcus61764622) November 30, 2021
Included was a link to the Twitter account of some guy named Mo. And within minutes, the gambling world was abuzz with the idea of Robins having a burner account. It seemed … delicious.
As it turned out, it was not a burner account. It was, in fact, the account of Mohsin Gazipura, a retail investor long on DraftKings and trying to — in the parlance of our times — pump the bags of the company. I found this out via LinkedIn, reached out to “Mo,” had a conversation with him, and also discovered that he founded a charity — Charity Grocer — that helped deliver groceries to people in far-flung areas of Pakistan.
With all of this information at hand, I wrote an article with the slightly click-baity headline, “Does DraftKings CEO Jason Robins Have A Twitter Burner Account?”
And that’s when things got weird.
A huge donation
Within hours of publication, Robins called me an “idiot” in a since-deleted tweet, basically saying my journalism was terrible and I was terrible and that he does not, in fact, have a burner account.
At this point, I messaged Robins, begging him to read past the headline. Within minutes, he DM’d me and apologized for calling me an idiot, though he noted (probably correctly) that many people don’t read past the headline.
I responded in a way that would greatly upset my past journalism teachers: I inserted myself into the story and told Robins about Gazipura’s charity and that it would make a fantastic follow-up story if Robins made a donation. Robins loved the idea, and I figured he’d donate $500, maybe $1,000, and that would be that.
Nine minutes later, Robins DM’d me, informing me he’d just donated $100,000 to Charity Grocer. Gazipura was floored.
"I’m in shock. This is insane."@JasonDRobins has donated $100K to Charity Grocer, an org. run by @GazipuraMo (who is not Jason) helping get food and water to poverty-stricken Pakistanis. @jeffedelstein on the happy ending to the situation.https://t.co/8vGP9bkTX5
— Sports Handle (@sports_handle) December 1, 2021
“It’s insane,” Gazipura told me at the time. “The truth is I just started this charity with me, and I have some family back in Pakistan, so I have three or four people there, and I think we’ve gotten about $30,000 in donations over the past two or three years. We’re a fairly small charity, but just thinking about what this is going to do for a country that’s struggling, for a country that doesn’t have access to vaccines, doesn’t have access to clean water.”
But it was the next bit Gazipura said that, in hindsight, rung the most true.
“We’re going to have to move beyond grocery delivery.”
A school is built
Gazipura then teamed up with the Paani Project — the same charitable organization that partnered with Kyrie Irving to build solar panel water wells in Pakistan last year — to build a school.
“The burner story went viral, Jason sent the $100,000 donation, and with us being a smaller-scale charity, I just didn’t know if it was something that was scaleable,” Gazipura said. “Delivering groceries, it would take probably 10 to 15 years to spend.”
So Gazipura started knocking on doors of other charities, eventually connecting with the Paani Project. They mentioned the idea of a school — something they had been toying with — and sent Gazipura the specs.
“And it went from there,” Gazipura said.
And by “there,” he means from dirt field to school — it just officially opened Monday — in less than 10 months.
“The construction of the school — all the books, clothes, everything — was around $59,000,” Gazipura said. “We hired three teachers, one administrator, and a two-person support staff. Their salaries come to $14,400 a year combined.”
The teachers are all women, and Gazipura noted that was done on purpose to help the kids on an emotional level, as “a lot of the kids come from tough backgrounds, have emotional issues, and we wanted teachers that could be a mother figure as well.”
The plans also include for the school — named the Aisha Academy — to open up in the evenings for older, uneducated women to take classes. Note that all of this is happening miles from the Afghanistan border, a place not exactly keen on the whole women-being-equal thing.
“We’re in northern Pakistan, very close to the border, and women’s education is not something readily available under the Taliban,” Gazipura said. “We didn’t even break ground until we got approval from the government of Pakistan.”
Amazing. Simply amazing.
But wait, there’s another $1K
Robins is equally amazed his donation has turned into something … well, is it OK to use “amazing” again?
“I connected directly with Mo after some fun banter on social media and quickly realized this individual was doing much more than just defending our company,” Robins said. “Mo was hard at work making the world a better place by supporting equal education opportunities in Pakistan. I am happy to learn that my donation is having a meaningful impact on his noble efforts.”
In the end, the sum total of donations that went to the building of this school went up to $101,000, as Frantz — who started the whole burner account brouhaha — ponied up $1,000 himself.
“I did indeed donate to Mo’s charity back when I found out from you and a few other folks who looked into the situation that he not only was a real person (who is not Jason), but a real person who was doing some real good in the world,” Frantz told me. “I am incredibly happy about all of the good that has come from my silly tweets – which were always intended to be made in jest and I’ve since deleted in an effort for them to not spread misinformation further. This is all thanks to Mo and Jason and I am very appreciative of their efforts and excited to hear about the finished product. It’s always nice to see the internet do some good.”