The Justin J. Watt Foundation has announced that the online fundraising campaign set up by Houston Texans star J.J. Watt to assist people affected by Hurricane Harvey has raised a total of $41.6 million over the past year.
Through the Houston Flood Relief Fund crowdfunding page, the effort — which was launched with a goal of $200,000 — raised more than $37 million from 209,000 donors by its original September 15, 2017, deadline. Money continued to come in past the deadline, however, making it the largest crowdsourced fundraiser in history. Funds raised through the effort have been distributed to eight nonprofits — All Hands and Hearts, Americares, Boys & Girls Clubs, BakerRipley, Feeding America, Houston Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, and SBP — and have been used to repair and rebuild more than 600 homes and 420 childcare centers and afterschool program facilities, distribute 26 million meals, provide physical and mental health care for over 6,500 individuals, and distribute medicine to more than 10,000 patients.
The foundation also announced that, over the next twelve months, funds will be allocated to support home restoration and disaster case management; repair damaged Boys & Girls Clubs centers; support the continuation of physical and mental health services; provide additional support for food banks in the forty-eight-county area; and build resiliency against future storms.
"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," Watt said in a statement. "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."
(Photo credit: Justin J. Watt Foundation)