Houston Texans defensive end JJ Watt started with an initial goal of raising $200,000 for relief efforts — now the campaign has cleared $5 million
When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and began devastating the community, all-star Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was frustrated he wasn't around to help.
So he decided he would do what he could, setting up an online fundraiser for Houston with an initial goal of $200,000, and pledging $100,000 of his own money to get the donations started. The campaign went live on Sunday, as Watt shared a link and a video explaining the fundraiser to his social media channels.
Within hours the initial goal was met, so Watt decided to push the effort further, and set a new goal for $500,000. When that was met in less than 24 hours, he again raised the goal to $1 million and challenged his followers to see how far they could take the campaign.
The fundraiser continued to pick up steam, and quickly surpassed subsequent goals of $2 million and $3 million. Watt even got help from around the NFL, most notably when Tennessee Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk donated $1 million of her own money to the cause.
"A million dollar donation," Watt said in another video posted in response to the gift. "That's from a team in our division, one of our rivals, but stepping up for the greater good of the people. I cannot thank you enough."
With the help of his 2.7 million followers on Instagram and nearly 4 million followers on Twitter, Watt raised over $6 million dollars from over 54,000 donors in just four days, and set a new goal for $10 million.
While his goal seemed ambitious, donors once again stepped up. The Ellen Show with the help of Walmart gave another $1 million donation, pushing the project past $8.5 million total.
Then, on Thursday morning, Watt announced that the project had reached its $10 million goal, adding that the page would remain up for more donations to come in, and praising all of those who donated to the campaign. He also said that some of the rebuilding effort has already begun, with trucks being loaded with supplies like food, water, clothing, baby supplies, and more, and being taken to distribution centers where it can be given directly to people affected by Harvey.
Watt's project started on Sunday with a goal of $200,0000 to help people in need, and in just five days the fundraiser put together over $10 million.
As it stands, the campaign has rasied $11,337,220 and counting from over 107,000 donors. With donations still coming in every minute, Watt hopes to continue the campaign as far at it can go, and has repeatedly vowed to make sure this money goes directly to people in need.
You can donate to Watt's campaign here and check out other reputable charities to consider giving to here.