Connie Watt, the mother of Houston Texans/NFL superstar defensive lineman JJ Watt (as well as Derek, fullback for the San Diego Chargers, and T.J, rookie linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers) is a force to be reckoned with. If raising three sons isn't tough enough, she raised three football playing sons in football crazed Wisconsin, where football is the religion of the people.
Now that her sons are grown, gone, and off playing professional football in the NFL, Connie Watt has turned her attention to her eldest son's philanthropic efforts through the JJ Watt Foundation, where she is the Vice-President. She handles the foundations day-to-day operations, including JJ's annual charity softball game, which until this year had been the foundation's largest fundraiser. Well that is, until this year.
The efforts of the JJ Watt Foundation changed on Friday August 25, when Hurricane Harvey made landfall and proceeded to devastate the city of Houston. Two days later, once the true level of devastation could be seen, JJ Watt hopped on social media to start a fundraiser. the goal, to raise $200,000, and to show he was serious he donated $100K of his own money to get it started.
It didn't take long for his $200K goal to be met and surpassed, and with each successive new goal was eclipsed, over, and over, and over, and over again. As it sits right now, his fundraiser has raised $28,776,521.00 and it is still climbing. That number is likely to continue to grow as people around North America and the rest of the world continue to contribute to the relief fund.
With the NFL season kicking off tonight, JJ is going to have to focus his efforts elsewhere for the time being, meaning the full responsibility for handling the huge sums of money being raised by the foundation lands on Connie Watt's shoulders, and no one doubts that she is fully up to the challenge.
While JJ has been focusing on raising funds and distributing supplies to the affected people of Houston, Connie has been back home in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, organizing supply drives and a distribution network. Volunteers have been showing up in droves and it has been up to the mother of all Watts to see it through to completion.
"Thank you to everybody who's willing to give anything and everything that they possibly can to help all of these people feel the love of J.J.'s home state of Wisconsin," said Connie Watt.