Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s kettle-jump stunt is paying off – at least for the Salvation Army. The nonprofit organization said it has seen a 61 percent increase in donations after Sunday night’s game, when Elliott jumped into an oversized Salvation Army kettle to celebrate the 13th rushing touchdown of his rookie season during the Cowboys’ 26-20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“We’ve seen an $80,000 increase in digital donations since the touchdown versus this time last week,” the Salvation Army’s Lt. Col. Ron Busroe told CNBC. That brings the total raised in 24 hours to $180,971. Many of the donations are coming in the form of $21 – matching Elliott’s jersey number.
Was this stunt planned or spontaneous?
“We had no indication whatsoever anything like that was going to happen,” Busroe said. “We were very surprised and pleased.”
And the NFL announced on Monday that Elliott would not be fined for his celebratory touchdown. It was expected that Elliott would be fined $12,154 for “excessive celebration.” The Cowboys were penalized 15 yards after Elliott’s move.
However, that’s not stopping the 21-year-old rookie from giving away his money.
The Salvation Army says that the Dallas Cowboys are the most generous team and does more volunteer work for their organization than any other NFL team. “They encourage the team to participate in different activities with us,” said Busroe. “We have a very close relationship with the Jones family,” he added. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was also seen wearing a Salvation Army emblem on his lapel at the game.
Elliott has participated in charity events for the organization in the past. Most recently, he and teammate Dak Prescott served Thanksgiving dinner to the needy.
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign raised $150 million last year. This year, donations are down about 16 percent, largely a result of the weather.