Long-time philanthropist Garth Brooks brought his stadium tour to Notre Dame on Saturday, May 7, but what he did the night before may have had an even bigger impact on the community.
Jim Williams, president and CEO at Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County, told The Goshen News how they connected with Brooks and planned a fundraiser for the organization. “When we heard Garth would be in town for his stadium tour, we invited him to revisit the Carter Work Project site. He and Trisha were such a huge part of its success back in 2018, so of course, we wanted him to see all the growth and progress that’s happened these past 4 years. As the conversation went on, one thing led to another, and the next thing we knew, we had the blessed opportunity to host a private concert fundraiser with only a month to prepare!”
The seven-time CMA Entertainer of the Year performed for two hours to a crowd of 300 people at St. Joe Farm in Granger, Indiana on Friday, May 6. Two lucky fans even snagged a selfie with Brooks during the private concert.
According to WSBT, the event initially raised $635,000, but after an anonymous donor announced a dollar-for-dollar match, the Habitat for Humanity of St. Joseph County raised a grand total of $1.2 million.
“The funds raised from this event will help so many Habitat homeowners achieve the strength, stability, and independence they need to build a better life for themselves and their families,” Williams told The Goshen News. “We are so grateful to Garth, his team, and our partners for believing in our mission and helping us make the dream of owning an affordable home a reality for so many St. Joseph County families.”
Williams also shared with WSBT the specific plans for how they’ll use the money that Brooks helped raise. “We need to start a second major project, a second subdivision because we’re almost done with the Carter Work project subdivision, so we’ve gotta set up our next 5–7-year plan, and this is going to give us what we need to do that.”
Ahead of his Notre Dame Stadium concert, Brooks reflected on his previous volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity in the area, recalling a special memory with former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter in 2018. “Anytime you get to work with the Carters, that stands out,” Brooks told South Bend Tribune about the Mishawaka project. “One of the things that really make me smile, because I’m married to the love of my life just as they are, is: They had an argument – over the size of a board, how long it should cut. And it got to be pretty good. She wasn’t taking any of his crap, and he wasn’t backing down. Me and Ms. Yearwood looked at each other because they are, what, 30-40 years older than us. We’re praying to God that that’s us in 30-40 years. That’s what made it fun. They were as real as can be.”
Brooks and wife Trisha Yearwood have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity for more than 10 years, starting with Habitat in New Orleans to help build the 1,000th and 1,001st post-Hurricane Katrina Habitat homes on the Gulf Coast. They have supported several Habitat events and projects, including the Carter Work Project and National Women Build Week.