On the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, Houston Texans DE JJ Watt shared on Instagram a message for fans as well as those who were wondering how exactly the $41.6 million dollars he raised during last August’ storm was dispersed.
Watt’s $41.6 million raised was the largest crowdsourced fundraiser in history. His work in the community also helped propel him to win the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award earlier this year.
Eight non-profits received the bulk of the money: All Hands and Hearts, Americares, Boys & Girls Clubs, Baker Ripley, Feeding America, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children and SBP. The funds have been used for the cleanup, repair and rebuilding of over 600 homes, the recovery and rebuilding of more than 420 childcare centers and after-school programs, serving well over 16,000 children, the distribution of 26,000 meals, physical and mental health services to more than 6,500 individuals and the distribution of medicine to more than 10,000 people.
In a letter to the public, Watt said, “As I reflect on the events of Hurricane Harvey one year ago, the memories of destruction and devastation remain, but they are accompanied by memories of hope, selflessness and the beauty of the human spirit. The actions of professional first responders and everyday citizens alike were an inspiration to the world and a shining example of the inherent good that lies within us all. Those actions locally were then supported by the actions of hundreds of thousands from around the world showing their support and donating their money in order to help out in anyway they could. I was fortunate enough to witness that generosity first hand, as the fundraiser that I started with a simple goal of $200,000 turned into an unbelievable outpouring of support from people all around the globe. When it was all said and done, after the late donations and checks that came in after the deadline were counted, the total amount that was donated and is now hard at work in the community was $41.6 million.”
He continued, “In the past year, those funds have been used to repair and rebuild houses, allowing people to finally return and once again have a place to call “home”. Those funds have restored and rebuilt childcare centers so that parents can once again have a place to take their children where they know they will be safe, so that they can return to work and resume a sense of normalcy. Those funds have provided millions of meals to people who weren’t sure where their next meal might be coming from after being devastated by the storm. And those funds also provided physical and mental health care to those who suffered from the events of that awful weekend one year ago. While a great deal has been accomplished in the past twelve months, there is still much work to be done. Moving forward, there will be more of the same, as we continue to work with our incredible nonprofit partners to provide as much help and support as we possibly can for those affected by Harvey. Every time that I am fortunate enough to witness someone step back into their home for the first time or a child run around on the playground again, I am reminded of the generosity of strangers that helped make it all possible. Thank you!