The Houston Texans’ star defensive end has raised more than 50 times his original goal for Harvey victims

By Money Staff
August 31, 2017 12:59 PM

JJ Watt may have to raise his fundraising goal again.

The Houston Texans’ star defensive end has raised more than $10 million for Harvey victims — 50 times his original goal — surpassing a new target he made on Wednesday for his fundraising effort for those affected by the devastating storm that brought historic flooding to the region.

Watt created a YouCaring crowdfunding page on Sunday as the heaviest tropical downpour in U.S. history submerged southeast Texas in water and tens of thousands of people fled their homes.

He’s hoping to give the money directly to the people impacted by Harvey. “It’s crazy,” Watt told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. “It’s an unbelievable testament to the good of people. But now it’s a big task, trying to make sure this money goes directly to the people.”

Watt told Ellen DeGeneres, who, with help from Walmart, donated $1 million to Watt’s fundraising efforts, his first priority is getting those in need drinking water.

“I promise you that I will make this money go a long way,” Watt told DeGeneres. “I promise you that I will help these victims directly; I promise that we will help rebuild Houston.”

Watt was initially hoping to raise $200,000 when he made the fundraising page on Sunday. In just 48 hours, he received more than $4 million in donations and kept raising the goal each day. As of Thursday morning, more than 98,500 people have donated to the cause.

Along with DeGeneres and Walmart, a host of celebrities and NFL players and teams have written hefty checks to Watt’s cause. Amy Adams Strunk, the owner of rival NFL team the Tennessee Titans, donated $1 million to Watt’s fund on Tuesday. Former President George H.W. Bush also promoted Watt’s fundraising efforts on Twitter.

This is not Watt’s first time getting involved with charitable causes. In fact, he runs his own charity — the JJ Watt Foundation, which is dedicated to helping schools with low funding for after-school athletic programs, particularly in Texas and Wisconsin. As of Thursday, his foundation page directs visitors to his crowdfunding efforts for Harvey victims. A representative for Watt did not respond immediately to a request from MONEY for an interview.

Watt’s own team, the Houston Texans, has helped promote Watt’s campaign since its inception, and has donated to other causes benefiting Harvey victims. The team, which was practicing in Dallas when Harvey hit over the weekend, plans to dedicate its upcoming season to the waterlogged city.

At least 30 people have died due to the catastrophic storm and its aftermath, and that number is expected to grow, according to the Associated Press. Floodwater levels began to slowly lower on Wednesday, but other disastrous effects of the storm like fire and explosions from a Houston-area chemical plant on Thursday show more hazards to come as a result of the storm.

To learn more about how you can help the victims of Harvey, check out MONEY’s guide on how to donate.

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