Watkins didn’t collect the most money ever raised. Instead, in raising money for the Portland Promise Center, he spearheaded the creation of a 2,000-pound ball of tape with a circumference of 12 feet, 9 inches. Guinness World Records designated it as the world’s largest tape ball on May 6.  

A UofL freshman, Watkins has been a longtime volunteer at the Portland Promise Center, which aims to revitalize Louisville’s Portland neighborhood through spiritual, economic, leadership and community development. He said he saw the fundraiser as an opportunity to both raise awareness for the center and also send a central message of peace.

In fact, he called the mass of tape the “peace ball.”

The fundraiser began in May 2010 with kids from the center rolling donated masking tape into a ball. Once the ball weighed 300 pounds, Watkins said he began to take it to such local events as the St. James Art Show (with permission) and collect donations. People purchased tape to add to the ball.

Watkins’ efforts netted $1,000 for the Portland Promise Center. The center will use the money, he said, to renovate an abandoned warehouse for additional offices. Creating the ball fulfilled his other goal, too.

“Certainly the peace ball has raised awareness about the Portland Promise Center and all of its efforts to motivate and empower the people of Portland to become better students, parents, neighbors and peacemakers,” said Peggy Jordan a UofL employee whose church works with the center.