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How to Help Local Animal Shelters, Rescues – NBC Chicago

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How to Help Local Animal Shelters, Rescues – NBC Chicago

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The late Betty White has been a tireless advocate for animals throughout her life, from taking care of homeless people to launching her own weekly TV show, “The Pet Set”, dedicated to her famous friends and their pets.

His biggest contribution, however, may yet be forthcoming: On Monday, White fans will be ready to donate to charities and animal welfare shelters as part of what has been dubbed the #BettyWhiteChallenge. And animal welfare nonprofits are gearing up to capitalize on the viral tribute to the star of “The Golden Girls” and “Hot in Cleveland” on what would have been her 100th birthday.

“I’ve had many conversations with Betty about animal welfare, and I know she’s looking down and really smiling,” said Robin Ganzert, who heads American Humane, a human rights organization. animals with which White has been involved for over 60 years.

“She’ll be smiling on her birthday,” she said. “And she will smile at the lives she changed.”

It’s unclear who launched the #BettyWhiteChallenge on social media shortly after White’s death on December 31. However, the idea – to donate $ 5 to a local animal rescue organization on White’s behalf on his birthday – quickly took off and received support from celebrities like actors Mark Hamill and George Takei. on Twitter.

Traffic to American Humane’s website increased after White’s death. Ganzert said donations have also increased. The nonprofit is waiting to reveal by how much until more freebies come in, including large donations it expects from some donors.

During the decades that White has been involved with the organization, she has raised fundraisers and served on its board of directors and as a host and judge on her TV show featuring ‘Heroes’ Dogs. “. During the recordings of “The Pet Set” in the early 1970s, Ganzert said, White would have representatives from American Humane on set to make sure the animals were safe. In 2012, the association awarded him its highest honor, the National Humanitarian Medal.

Ganzert also gave White a photo book each year of the animals the organization helped.

“She kept them on her coffee table,” Ganzert said. “And (it) always touched me whenever we visited.”

The ‘Hot in Cleveland’ and ‘The Golden Girls’ star died a few weeks before her 100th birthday, according to her agent.

Best Friends Animal Society, a Utah-based animal welfare organization, raised $ 25,000 in donations made on White’s behalf, according to Holly Sizemore, the group’s mission leader. The group has widely promoted the #BettyWhiteChallenge on their social media channels to build support for both their work and other organizations.

“That’s the beauty of animal welfare,” Sizemore said. “There is something for everyone to support. There is so much good work going on and so much opportunity, especially right now, to make the world a better place for humans and animals.

Sizemore hopes Monday brings a lot of donation and attention to animal welfare.

“What an incredible opportunity to honor Betty White’s legacy – to come together as a nation and celebrate something she was so passionate about, her love for animals,” she said.

Maintaining that connection with #BettyWhiteChallenge donors is the main test for animal welfare nonprofits after Monday. Viral fundraising efforts can bring in a lot of money, but experts say donations tend to drop quickly.

Sarah Newhall, chief strategy officer for fundraising company MissionWired, says charities can better capitalize on these moments if they already have a solid foundation to engage new donors, whether through email, website, social media, or other methods.

“What it allows them to do is really use that moment of tent to present themselves in front of an audience that they might not otherwise have gotten,” Newhall said. But, she added, retaining those donors can be an uphill battle, as willingness to give is linked to a day and motivation to a person. Animal groups could also be eclipsed by other organizations soliciting donations on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which also falls on Monday.

Betty White through the years in pictures

North Shore Animal League America, a no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, plans to engage new #BettyWhiteChallenge donors through a mix of social media calls and invitations to visit its center. adoption in Port Washington, New York, said Joanne Yohannan, the organization’s senior vice president of operations. He’s also dedicating his next 100 animal rescues to White in honor of his 100th birthday.

The organization received a Hallmark Channel donation in honor of White, as part of a tribute that also includes a “Golden Girls” marathon and her Hallmark film “The Lost Valentine” on January 17th.

“It’s about raising awareness about the plight of homeless animals and what can be done to help them, including volunteering and adoption,” Yohannan said.


The Associated Press receives support from the Lilly Endowment for coverage of philanthropy and nonprofit organizations. The AP is solely responsible for all content. For all of AP’s philanthropic coverage, visit

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