The life of recently deceased internationally-adored icon Betty White was celebrated this past week with the Betty White Challenge, which aimed to raise funds for animal shelters and rescues across the globe. As an outspoken advocate for animals, those close to the late actress describe the Challenge as the perfect way to honour her memory.
White was well-known as an animal lover and activist. She worked on a number of projects, from saving endangered species to improving conditions at the Los Angeles Zoo, and much more.
Fuelled by the hashtag #BettyWhiteChallenge, the event spread rapidly through social media, taking many rescue organizations by surprise as donations began to pour in. The Challenge took place on Monday, January 17, on what would have been Betty’s 100th birthday. The intention behind the challenge was to donate just $5 to a rescue, shelter, or animal-aid organization of your choice.
The Betty White Challenge snowballed into a massive global awareness campaign, with organizations everywhere reporting an increase in monetary and item donations, a growing volunteer base, and increased interest in their services. In fact, in the U.S. alone, donations through Instagram and Facebook raised almost $13 million. Experts estimate that the total donated through these and other platforms could exceed more than double that amount.
In Canada, the Ottawa Humane Society raised approximately $70,000, the BC SPCA raised over $400,000, the Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph Humane Societies raised almost $80,000, and the list goes on.
The unprecedented surge in donations surpassed popular events like Giving Tuesday, a worldwide generosity movement taking place on the Tuesday following Black Friday. The Betty White Challenge gave animals around the world a huge boost in resources to start the year. Many hope this will become an annual event, and with the amount of momentum behind this Challenge, it is likely to proliferate from year to year.
The success of events like this shed light on the need for more funding for our most vulnerable animals. Consider setting up a recurring monetary donation, donating food or other needed products, or even volunteering your time. Locally, organizations like SMILE Animal Society, the Grey Bruce Animal Shelter, and the Georgian Triangle Humane Society are always welcoming help. Items such as cat litter, kitten milk replacer, collars and leashes, and blankets, are always in high demand. Alternatively, local food banks are always looking for donations of food and supplies for their clients’ pets, as well.
In the words of Gandhi, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Betty White’s vision of a more animal-friendly future is coming to fruition, thanks to the support of millions of animal lovers across the globe.
Brandon Forder, known as The Pet Expert, is vice-president of Canadian Pet Connection, an industry leader in healthy pet lifestyles. Brandon is certified in pet nutrition, and has more than twenty-five years’ experience specializing in pet health and behaviour. He has written hundreds of informative pet-related articles for newspapers, magazines, radio, and the popular Ask the Pet Expert Blog. Brandon is highly skilled in pet problem solving, and enjoys teaching others about smart and responsible pet ownership. To learn more, visit www.CanadianPetConnection.ca.