J.J. Watt had a modest goal when he launched a fundraiser to benefit victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.
The Texans’ three-time Defensive Player of the Year said he hoped to raise $200,000 in a video he posted on Twitter after a preseason game on Aug. 26. It took less than two hours to reach that number.
Donations poured in from all over the world, with several professional athletes chipping in. Tom Brady gave $100,000, Chris Paul pitched in $50,000 and more than 200,000 people, including Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres and Drake, contributed more than $37 million to Watt’s campaign.
“I cannot thank everyone enough for their support and donations from across the country and around the world,” Watt said to those who helped him raise funds for Harvey relief. “You have truly shown what is possible when everyone bands together for one common cause.”
The funds raised by Watt are being used to rebuild homes, restore child care centers, provide food and address health needs of those who were affected most by the hurricane.
“It was incredible to see how people from all over the country, people from all over the world, people from all different backgrounds, all different communities came together to support a city and a people that were having the toughest time of their life,” Watt said.
Watt was only one of many athletes who heeded the call for help when disasters struck in 2017.
After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico shortly following Harvey’s destruction in Houston, several players stepped up.
Carlos Beltran, who retired after winning the World Series with the Houston Astros, started a fundraiser to help victims by donating $1 million . Several other major leaguers, including Yadier Molina and Enrique Hernandez, also joined in with their own campaigns.
Members of the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors jumped in to help after wildfires scorched the West Coast in October. Klay Thompson donated $75,000 to fire relief efforts by giving $1,000 for each point he scored during a three-game stretch. The Oakland Raiders organization gave $1 million and the Raiders, Warriors and 49ers combined on a donation of $450,000. (AP)