Donating to Harvey storm relief is something everyone can get behind. Whether $10 or $10 million, the outpouring of donations after the Category 4 hurricane ripped apart Texas’ Gulf Coast and caused catastrophic flooding, the effects of which could linger for months or years, are a shining example of what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.”
Companies, celebrities, athletes and sports teams have used social media to amplify the call for help and challenge their audiences to step up and give with them. Hundreds of millions of have already been raised, but the economic loss associated with the storm will likely be in the tens or hundreds of billions.
Here are some of the biggest donations and crowd-funded group efforts:
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt
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All J.J. Watt wanted to do was help. Now, after his crowd-funded effort to double a personal $100,000 donation eclipsed $10 million, Watt has become the face of Harvey relief efforts. As of about 2 p.m. Thursday, his relief account had amassed nearly $11.5 million.
Celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, who collaborated with Walmart on a $1 million donation to Watt’s fund, and Drake, who donated $200,000, have kept the giving going by pledging donations through Watt. The defensive end is not giving specifically to the Red Cross or the Salvation Army — he promises on his pledge page instead to give directly to those affected through his JJ Watt Foundation.
Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander
Sports teams generally fall into a different category of giving for the purposes of this list, but Leslie Alexander reportedly upped his original $4 million pledge to $10 million Wednesday. The NBA and Players Association have each pledged $1 million, as have both the Texas Rangers and the Houston Astros.
Other owners, franchises leagues and league officials have done the same. The Texans, Jets and Patriots have each donated $1 million.
Ever the contrarian, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he’ll never give again to large nonprofits like the American Red Cross or Salvation Army. He prefers to donate directly “for people to acquire specific things they need. I want to have an impact — not just be a checkbook.”
At Thursday’s Dallas Cowboys telethon, which took the place of the canceled preseason football game between the Cowboys and the Texans, team owner and general manager Jerry Jones called in a donation of another cool million to the Salvation Army.
And wouldn’t you know it? Dez Bryant answered Jones’ call.
Actor Leonardo DiCaprio
The 42-year-old heartthrob’s foundation reportedly pledged $1 million Wednesday as the inaugural donation to the newly established United Way Harvey Recovery Fund. He also made large donations to victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
Actress Sandra Bullock
Sandra Bullock announced a $1 million donation to the Red Cross toward Harvey relief on Tuesday. Bullock previously lived in Austin.
Celebrity Chef Rachael Ray
Through the Rachael Ray Foundation, the Food Network star pledged $1 million Tuesday, specifically to help animals affected by Harvey. Of that, $200,000 has already been distributed between two animal shelters in Texas.
Comedian Kevin Hart
Kevin Hart’s crowd-fundraiser started with his own $25,000 pledge to the American Red Cross. He called on his celebrity friends to do the same. Then he upped his own donation to $50,000.
His fund at about 3 p.m. Thursday stood at over $1.2 million.
Whataburger pledged $1.65 million to storm relief, with most of that going to employees affected by the storm through the Whataburger Family Foundation. Local food banks will receive $500,000, while the company has also pledged $150,000 to the American Red Cross.
Dallas-based Vizient, a healthcare services company, pledged more than $1 million to help hospital workers in South Texas and Louisiana affected by the storm. Hearst, the media company that owns newspapers in Houston and San Antonio, pledged $1 million on Tuesday to the Greater Houston Red Cross.
In all, according to a Vizient news release, the business community has donated more than $72 million to storm and flood relief.
Please consider joining the Star-Telegram and its partners for a day of donating on Monday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., in the Kimbell Art Museum parking lot. We are asking for donations of diapers; baby formula; toiletries; baby wipes; underwear and socks for men, women and children in new packaging; blankets; and towels. The donations will go directly to those in need through Goodwill.
Help us help others
Please consider joining the Star-Telegram and its partners for a day of donating on Monday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., in the Kimbell Art Museum parking lot. We are asking for donations of diapers, baby formula, toiletries, baby wipes, blankets, towels, plus new packages of underwear and socks for men, women and children. The donations will go directly to those in need through Goodwill.