Culture / Newsy

A $5 Million Personal Check for J.J. Watt’s Harvey Fund Takes Giving to a New Level

You Won’t Believe Which Shy Texan Topped Them All

BY // 09.06.17

The list of celebrities opening their hearts and checkbooks for Harvey relief is impressive — Miley Cyrus ($500,000), the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation ($1 million) Austin homeowner Sandra Bullock ($1 million), Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon ($1 million), Taylor Swift (“very sizable”). But leave it to one native Texan to top them all.

H-E-B chairman and CEO Charles Butt today announced a $5 million personal contribution to the J.J. Watt Foundation’s Houston Flood Relief Fund.

“Throughout this disaster, I have been humbled by the state’s unprecedented generosity and heroism,” Butt said in a statement. “I want to commend and support the extraordinary relief efforts of J.J. Watt who has taken the lead, not as a world-class NFL player or celebrity, but as an individual who saw the need to help his fellow Texans and immediately took action.”

J.J. Watt’s 25 Million Drive

The Butt gift catapults Watt’s fundraising effort to beyond $25 million. (Before the gift the fund had topped $20 million.) In light of the gift, Watt released this statement. ““I appreciate the incredible generosity Charles Butt and H-E-B has shown. It is amazing what can happen when people from all over come together for one common goal.”

Philanthropy is a common thread in the philosophies of both Butt and H-E-B. Earlier this year, the billionaire grocery magnate, who is a passionate advocate for public education in Texas, helped establish The Holdsworth Center for excellence in education leadership and created and endowed the Raising Texas Teachers Scholarship Fund.

Mirroring that community spirit, the San Antonio-based grocery chain has a protocol for emergency relief efforts including deployment of H-E-B’s Mobile Kitchens and Disaster Relief Units throughout the state as well as monetary commitments, food bank support and volunteers.

The retiring Butt has handed over check presentation duties to Scott McClelland, president of H-E-B Food & Drug, and Winell Herron, H-E-B Group Vice President Public Affairs, Diversity and Environmental Affairs. The contribution will took place at NRG Stadium earlier today.

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