Betty White Challenge Raises Nearly $13 Million for Animal Shelters Between Facebook, Instagram

by Matthew Memrick
(Photo by Mark Sullivan/WireImage)

The viral Betty White Challenge inspired many Facebook and Instagram users to give a total of nearly $13 million to benefit animal shelters.

Variety reported that the late actress and animal lover was honored on what would have been her 100th birthday on Jan. 17. Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, said $12.7 million went to shelters and rescue operations throughout the country. The social media giant said White’s birthday raised $900,000 from 26,000 people that day.

Betty White was a lifelong animal lover and advocate for animal welfare. She died on Dec. 31 at 99.

Recorded Tribute Goes A Long Way For White’s Donors  

The social media giant reported on Friday that more than 390,000 people donated in the animal fundraisers for a total of $12.7 million.

Meta added that it did not charge any fees on top of the donations. The money will go directly to nonprofit organizations.

The late actress’s team posted a pre-recorded video on her Instagram account. A very happy-looking White thanked her fans for raising all the money in one of her final appearances. 

“I just want to thank you all for your love and support over the years,” she said with a smile. “Thank you so much, and stick around!”

According to Smithsonian Magazine, other groups felt Betty White’s impact.

The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando got more than $42,000. In Texas, another animal group called Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue thanked people for more than $30,000 in donations. 

Car rideshare company Uber gave $50,000 to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in honor of Betty White. 

Canadian groups also felt the White effect as groups and shelters in Alberta, Canada. Global News’ Emily Mertz reported that groups got more than $186,000 in Betty White’s honor.

Betty White A ‘Zoo Nut’

Over more than 60 years, Betty White acted in TV shows and movies. She was best known for her “Golden Girls,” “Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and “Hot in Cleveland” shows.

However, she was a passionate advocate behind-the-scenes for animals.

“My preoccupation with animals is an open secret,” she wrote in her 2011 book “Betty & Friends: My Life at the Zoo.”

According to Variety, the actress had a longstanding relationship with the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA), the nonprofit attached to Los Angeles Zoo. It started in 1966 when the zoo opened. Eight years later, she became a trustee of the zoo. When her 90th birthday rolled around in 2012, she had it at the LA Zoo.

The actress also had tied to the Morris Animal Foundation, by which she was a trustee from 1971 to 2013. 

She also had some ties to Louisana as she helped evacuate animals as Hurricane Katrina threatened in 2005. Five years later, she helped establish the Betty White Wildlife Fund. The fund started after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It provided resources for over 30 animal health studies after the environmental disaster.