Students at Fresno’s Tehipite Middle School have a special reason to cheer Houston Texans’ star defensive end J.J. Watt this coming football season.
The J.J. Watt Foundation donated nearly $20,000 to the school in southeast Fresno for new uniforms, protective gear and other essential equipment for six of its sports teams.
“A huge heartfelt and sincere thanks from the bottom of our Bobcat hearts. The J.J. Watt Foundation has made our dreams come true,” Tehipite Middle School said on its Facebook page. “Words can’t express how much this means to our amazing student athletes.”
Miguel Arias, the chief information officer for Fresno Unified School District, said it was generous of Watt’s foundation to care about kids and schools that are not easily able to raise money to replace their uniforms.
“This foundation has allowed our kids to be at par with some of the more affluent schools that can rely on booster clubs for uniform replacement,” Arias said. “We appreciate it, it is an awesome thing.”
Watt Raised $37 Million for Hurricane Harvey Relief
Watt, a three-time NFL defensive player of the year, is perhaps best known for his efforts in helping to raise over $37 million for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. In 2017, Sports Illustrated named Watt its Sportsperson of the Year. He also received the NFL’s 2017 Walter Payton Man Of The Year Award.
How Tehipite Received the Grant
Amy Idsvoog, the communications analyst for FUSD, said the school’s athletic department applied for grant funding in October 2017. She said the department received the first layer of funding in January of this year, and the rest in late spring. The grant totaled $19,891.85.
“The new gear sparked a number of social media posts in January,” Idsvoog said. “There’s been athletic events where some people have even tagged the J.J. Watt Foundation on Facebook and Twitter because of the new uniforms.”
We love making a positive difference! Thank you to Tehipite Middle School in CA for sending us this thoughtful thank-you letter! pic.twitter.com/vMvO9gfb7K
— JJ Watt Foundation (@JJWFoundation) February 6, 2018
Although Watt is originally from Wisconsin, it is not unusual for his foundation, a 501c(3), to help out communities around the country.
The Foundation’s Mission
The main mission of the J.J. Watt Foundation is to help schools that have insufficient funding for after-school athletic programs or have no after-school athletics whatsoever.
“The ultimate goal for this foundation is to provide an opportunity for kids to be kids,” the foundation says on its website. “We want them to be able to have fun and enjoy playing sports with their peers, but at the same time, we want to help lay a solid foundation of characteristics on which they may build the rest of their life.”
According to the website, the J.J. Watt Foundation has provided funding in excess of $4 million to middle school after-school athletic programs and organizations. So far in 2018, the foundation has donated $336,792.87 to youth athletic programs in Texas, Florida, Missouri, Oklahoma, New York, and other states.
For more information on how to apply for funding, visit www.jjwfoundation.org.