The singer, author and wife of Garth Brooks hosted a fundraiser on TalkShopLive Monday, Jan. 17, which would have marked White’s 100th birthday had she not died of natural causes on Dec. 31. In light of the event, Yearwood and several others participated in the Betty White Challenge, in which people were encouraged to donate whatever they could to animal welfare organizations en masse in her honor.
White was a staunch advocate for animals in her life, so Yearwood and others felt it was an appropriate way to honor her following her death. When the roughly 18-minute live broadcast was said and done, Yearwood revealed on Twitter that about $ 30,000 was raised for the pet rescue organization Dottie’s Yard.
“Who doesn’t love Betty White?” Yearwood says at the top of the video. “I just think, Betty right now is so happy that this is the way that the world is choosing to celebrate her birthday, by giving to animals, which was very near and dear to her heart.”
Yearwood also revealed that Dottie’s Yard would match donations. Not to be outdone, she stated that she would also match donations out of her pocket, effectively tripling the total of anyone’s contribution.
Although she was participating in the viral Betty White Challenge, Yearwood noted that she never met the comedy icon personally. However, she made a big impression on her husband and daughter when they met her.
“I think Betty’s appeal was just really, there was no limit, no age group, everybody just loved her,” Yearwood explained. “I remember as a kid watching her on the ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’ and then, of course, ‘Golden Girls’… [She was] just beautiful and funny and smart and full of love. The world has really lost a wonderful person, but this is how we keep people that we love alive.”
For those who weren’t able to donate, Yearwood noted that they could instead volunteer at their local shelter or donate supplies like old towels, dog beds and food. Following the broadcast, Yearwood took to Twitter to reveal that they made $ 24,000 in just 15 minutes. She later noted that total only increased.
“I’m blown away! We’ve already reached our goal of $ 30,000+, but let’s keep this love flowing!! Thank you all so much!! Xo,” she wrote in a subsequent tweet.
She also vowed to continue to raise money for charity like this every year on Betty White’s birthday.
Although Yearwood may have been one of the top-grossing participants in the Betty White Challenge, Monday saw a massive spike across the board throughout the country for animal welfare donations.