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#BettyWhiteChallenge raises funds and awareness for animals | Entertainment

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The late Betty White was a tireless animal advocate, whether caring for those without homes or starting her own weekly television show, The Pet Set, dedicated to her famous friends and their pets.

His biggest contribution, however, may be yet to come: On Monday, White fans will be set to donate to charities and animal welfare shelters as part of which has been dubbed the #BettyWhiteChallenge. And animal welfare nonprofits are gearing up to capitalize on the viral tribute to The Golden Girls and Hot in Cleveland star 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 from the sky and genuinely smiling, said Robin Ganzert, who runs American Humane, an animal welfare organization in which White has been involved for over 60 years.

Shell will smile on her birthday, she says. And smile at the lives she changed.

It’s unclear exactly who started the #BettyWhiteChallenge on social media shortly after White’s death on Dec. 31. However it started, the idea of ​​donating $5 to a local animal rescue organization on behalf of white people on his birthday quickly took off and attracted the support of celebrities like actors Mark Hamill and George Takei on Twitter.

Traffic to the American Humanes website increased after the Whites died. Ganzert said donations have also increased. The nonprofit is waiting to reveal how much until more freebies roll in, including large donations it expects from some donors.

In the decades that White has been involved with the organization, she has done fundraising and served on its board of directors and as a presenter and judge on its TV show featuring hero dogs. During tapings of The Pet Set in the early 1970s, Ganzert said, White would have American Humane representatives on set to make sure the animals were safe. In 2012, the nonprofit organization awarded him its highest honour, 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 every time we went to visit.

Best Friends Animal Society, a Utah-based animal welfare organization, raised $25,000 in donations made on behalf of white people, according to Holly Sizemore, the group’s mission manager. The group has promoted the #BettyWhiteChallenge extensively on their social media to drum up 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 happening and so much opportunity, especially right now, to make the world a better place for people and animals.

Sizemore hopes Monday will bring lots of animal welfare donations and attention.

What an incredible opportunity to honor the legacy of Betty Whites 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 a flow of money, but experts say donations tend to drop quickly.

Sarah Newhall, director of strategy at fundraising firm MissionWired, says charities can make the most of these times if they already have a solid foundation to engage new donors, whether through through email, website, social media or other methods.

What it allows them to do is really use that pivotal moment to get in front of an audience that they otherwise might not have had, Newhall said. But, she added, retaining those donors can be an uphill battle because the urge to give is tied to a day and the motivation to a single person. Animal groups could also be overshadowed by other organizations soliciting donations on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which also falls on Monday.

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 adoption center in Port Washington, New York, said Joanne Yohannan, the organizations senior vice president of operations. He also dedicates his next 100 animal rescues to White in honor of his 100th birthday.

The organization received a donation from the Hallmark Channel in honor of White, as part of a tribute that also includes a Golden Girls marathon and her Hallmark movie The Lost Valentine on Jan. 17.

It’s about raising awareness of 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 the coverage of PA philanthropy, visit https://apnews.com/hub/philanthropy.

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