J.J. Watt Foundation giving HISD after-school athletic programs a boost

Coach Wilson (L) with J.J. Watt and members of the Fondren MS football team

Coach Wilson (L) with J.J. Watt and members of the Fondren MS football team

Eight members of the Fondren Middle School football team received a big surprise on April 18.

They got to meet one of their idols that day—legendary Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt—at a special celebration held in Houston by the charity he created. As previous beneficiaries of a grant from the Justin J. Watt Foundation, the students were invited to help accept a large donation from Papa John’s Pizza, one of its biggest supporters, at the event. They also got to visit with Watt personally and ask him a few questions.

“The students were totally surprised,” said Fondren Head Football Coach Steven Wilson. “The players chosen exemplify leadership and responsibility both on and off the field. This was a great experience for them.”

Twelve HISD campuses have benefitted from the Watt foundation’s grant program for after-school athletics since its inception in 2011. This year alone, Hogg Middle School and the Leland College Preparatory Academy received more than $16,000 (collectively) to purchase uniforms and equipment for their baseball, basketball, football, soccer, track, and/or volleyball teams. Previous grant recipients include: the Pilgrim Academy, Sharpstown International School, Project Chrysalis, and Black, Burbank, Grady, Long, Ortiz, and Welch middle schools.

Crediting his own experience as a student-athlete to his current success, Watt created the foundation to give other young people the chance to excel through athletics. All told, HISD programs have received more than $77,000 from the foundation.

To see a complete list of grant recipients, or to apply for a grant, please visit the Watt foundation’s website.