We have all witnessed the historic levels of devastation in the city of Houston and its surrounding areas caused by Hurricane Harvey this week.  We have also watched our country rally together to serve those in need.  The level of generosity, love, sacrifice, efficiency and care for people who are suffering has been incredibly inspiring.  America was at its best this past week as millions have stepped up in some form or fashion to lend a helping hand.

One such individual is Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.  Watt will eventually be a Hall of Fame player but nothing he will ever do on the field will have the impact of what he has done this past week to serve the Texas community.  Using a telephone, he launched a fundraising effort which, as of the time of this writing, has yielded over $17 million in aid and relief.

Watt’s efforts have reminded us about all that is good in sports and humanity.

As I watched the ESPN interview below, I gleaned 17 Lessons From J.J. Watt’s Hurricane Harvey Fundraising Effort On Generosity And Leadership.  All comments below are from Watt.

  1. Inspiration Defeats Devastation – “Devastation was the first thing that came to mind because of everything that happened but second thing that came out of this was inspiration.”
  2. Generosity Is A Team Sport.  It Takes Everyone To Help Others During Times Of Need. – “To see how many people step up to the plate.  To see the visuals on TV not only of the firefighters and policeman stepping up to the plate but everyday citizens…To start the fundraiser and over 150,000 step up to the plate.”
  3. Regardless Of What We Are Told, There Is Still Good In People And Hope For Humanity – “I could never imagine humanity was this good and it’s so incredible to witness.  It gives you hope.”
  4. Donations Of Any Size Combined Together Make A Huge Difference – “This is all donated.  We haven’t spent a dollar of the money yet.  This warehouse was donated to us.  The truck drivers are donating their time.  The volunteers are donating their time.”
  5. To Be Most Effective Donations Must Be Applied Directly To The Areas Of Greatest Need – “We’re going to take this directly in the community and make sure they get what they need.”
  6. During Times Of Tragedy You Are Reminded People Are Resilient – “How resilient they are.”
  7. During Times Of Tragedy You Are Reminded People Are Caring – “How caring they are.”
  8. Devastation And Tragedy Unites Us All – “No matter if you’re rich, poor, black or white, it doesn’t matter when everything goes wrong everyone steps up and comes together.”
  9. The Goodness And Generosity Of People Overcomes The Bleakness Of Devastation – “It’s a testament to how good people are.  No matter how bleak things can look and no matter how dark times can be, there is good in people and people do step up to the plate for their fellow human.”
  10. One Person Can’t Solve All Of Today’s Problems – “I know that I won’t give them all the help they possibly need.”
  11. But One Person Can Make A HUGE Difference – “I’m going to make that $17 million go as far as I possibly can.  I’m going to make sure every dollar of that goes back to this community.”
  12. Partnerships Are Needed To Provide The Amount Of Help And Resources Required During Times Of Tragedy – “It’s a much, much bigger project than $17 million project and I know there’s so many great organizations out there and so many great people out there to help.”
  13. When Donations Are Needed Give To Those You Can Trust – “Everybody who’s trusting me with their donations and all the people of Houston that are trusting me to do it right, I’m doing every single thing I can to make that money go as far as I can for this city.”

In a separate ESPN interview he said the following:

  1. To Help Others Focus On What You Do Have Rather Than What You Do Not – “I have social media.  I have a camera phone.  Let me record a video and see how much money I can raise to help these people?”
  2. Helping Others Rebuild Their Lives Is Bigger Than Any Game – “This is so much bigger than any game.  This so much bigger than any season, any sack, any touchdown.  This is lives.  This is hopefully helping people rebuild their lives and hopefully getting them back on their feet.”
  3. Helping Humanity Is The Most Important Thing You Will Do – “This is humanity, football is a game.  This is life.  This is hands-down the most important thing any of us will go through, not just me.”
  4. To Most Effectively Help Others Take Your Time And Do It Right – “Take your time.  Do it right.” – Advice from Drew Brees on how to manage the $17 million

To donate to the Houston relief efforts, see Watt’s tweet below about what you can do.

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