JJ Watt has helped raise over $5 million for Houston in the wake of Hurricane Harvey after initially hoping for $200,000

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J.J. Watt has kept donors up to date with the campaign with videos shared to Twitter and Instagram.
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@JJWatt/Twitter

When Hurricane Harvey hit Houston and began devastating the community, all-star Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was frustrated he wasn’t around to help.

So he decided he would do what he could, setting up an online fundraiser for Houston with an initial goal of $200,000, and pledging $100,000 of his own money to get the donations started. The campaign went live on Sunday, as Watt shared a link and a video explaining the fundraiser to his social media channels.

Within hours the initial goal was met, so Watt decided to push the effort further, and set a new goal for $500,000. When that was met in less than 24 hours, he again raised the goal to $1 million and challenged his followers to see how far they could take the campaign.

The fundraiser continued to pick up steam, and quickly surpassed subsequent goals of $2 million and $3 million. Watt even got help from around the NFL, most notably when Tennessee Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk donated $1 million of her own money to the cause.

“A million dollar donation,” Watt said in another video posted in response to the gift. “That’s from a team in our division, one of our rivals, but stepping up for the greater good of the people. I cannot thank you enough.”

As of the time of this writing, with the help of his 2.7 million followers on Instagram and nearly 4 million followers on Twitter, Watt has raised over $5.4 million dollars from over 54,000 donors in just four days, and set a new goal for $6 million.

With donations still coming in every minute, Watt hopes to continue the campaign as far at it can go, and has repeatedly vowed to make sure this money goes directly to people in need.

On the field, Watt and the Houston Texans will play the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday in the teams’ final game of the preseason. The game was initially scheduled to be played in Houston, but had to be moved due to the storm. Watt called for the game to raise more money for relief efforts, and after the teams met, it was announced that proceeds from the game would go to support the United Way of Greater Houston Relief Fund.

You can donate to Watt’s campaign here and check out other reputable charities to consider giving to here.