J.J. Watt leads the way

Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal carried a good column by Jason Gay on the role undertaken by NFL defensive superstar J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans in raising money for victims of the epochal storms ravaging Texas. “Watt’s fundraiser (located at youcaring.com/JJWatt) has become a social media phenomenon,” Gay explained. “His initial goal had been to raise $200,000, with Watt kicking in $100,000 himself to get things started.” More:

But then it grew. Quickly. Exponentially. Beyond anything that Watt anticipated. Shortly after we spoke, Watt would confirm on Twitter that his fundraiser to aid flood victims in Houston and its surrounding areas had passed $7 million.

Late Wednesday, a $1 million check from Wal-Mart would arrive via Ellen DeGeneres’s talk show, pushing the total past $8.5 million.

By mid-morning Thursday, it rocketed past $10 million.

“It’s crazy,” Watt said. “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.”

Why the incredible response to Watt? I had intended to offer a few deep thoughts on what is happening here, but Watt himself provides the best explanation in his most recent update ($15 million and counting) in the tweet below. Tapping in to our desire to help, Watt is trusted to do it right. One can see that he is serious, that he feels the responsibility, that he will not let us (either the donors or the intended beneficiaries) down. He has set a powerful example from which to learn.

Responses

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