J.J. Watt's Houston fundraiser passes $14M in donations

By The Sports Xchange  |  Sept. 1, 2017 at 2:18 PM
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Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt's online fundraiser to aid victims of Hurricane Harvey surpassed $14 million on Friday.

Watt started the relief effort on Sunday with $100,000 of his own money and had an initial goal of $200,000, meeting that target within just two hours. He now has increased that goal to $15 million.

Watt continues to surpass and raise his targets with updates, thanking those who donated for their generosity.

"The initial night, we broke the site (YouCaring.com), we couldn't figure out how to get it back up and we somehow found the CEO's phone number and called him at his house and got him out of bed," Watt told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Thursday night. "He helped us fix the site and it got rolling."

Watt described on Cooper's "AC360" show his plan of action to begin using the money to help those affected in flood-ravaged Houston starting this weekend.

"My first phase is what I'm doing is this weekend, my teammates and I have semi-trucks rolling in from out of town that we filled up," Watt said on CNN. "We have about nine semi-trucks that are going to come to town. And we have those all filled with stocks, supplies, water, food, clothing, everything. So, we're going to give that out this weekend."

The online fundraiser has received more than 135,000 donations, including $1 million from both Tennessee Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, who partnered with Walmart on her gift.

Watt said he received advice from individuals and organizations that helped victims of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005.

"I talked to some of the companies that helped out over there (in New Orleans) just to kind of get a glimpse of what went wrong, what went right, and how do you think we can do it best this time," Watt told CNN. "And I've gotten some really good information and the best thing that people have told me so far is take your time to make sure you do it right."

Watt emphasized to Houston residents that he is with them through the rebuilding process.

"I'm not just here for the initial fundraiser," Watt said. "I'm here to make sure that we take care of you down the road."

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