J.J. Watt Is a Fund-Raising Dynamo

His Hurricane Harvey fund-raising defied all expectations. When it comes to his platform, the sky is the limit.

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Omari White 185343
January 11, 2019

Four-time Pro Bowler J.J. Watt has been a nightmare for opposing teams ever since he was drafted by the Houston Texans as the 11th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Known for his quick and powerful first step once the ball is snapped, Watt racked up three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards while becoming the Texans' all-time career sacks leader. His dominant play on the gridiron led to his securing more sponsorship agreements than any defensive player in the league. But it’s his expectation-shattering fund-raising ability that cements him as an entrepreneur to watch.

 

Last year, Watt planned to raise $250,000 for Hurricane Harvey victims, a number he blew past almost instantly. He ended up raising $37 million. With a platform like Watt’s, the sky is the limit. Watt represents the intersection of entrepreneurship and philanthropy in the modern landscape. 

 

Watt has a background as a philanthropist. In 2010, he founded and became president of the Justin J. Watt Foundation, a charitable organization that provides after-school opportunities for children in various communities so they can get involved in athletics in a safe environment. Every year, he and his mother, Connie, host a charity classic, a run/walk, a golf outing and a tailgate to help raise money for their foundation. These are just a few of the reasons why Watt was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2018 and is one of most decorated entrepreneurial athletes of this generation.

 

This piece is part of our monthlong series featuring the 30 Most Entrepreneurial Athletes. For other entries in the series, head to our 30MEA page.