Fans Stepped Up for Betty White's Birthday Challenge

Call to action encouraged fans to donate to animal rights causes in her name
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2022 7:38 AM CST
Updated Jan 23, 2022 2:25 PM CST
On What Would've Been Betty White's 100th, a Challenge
A pedestrian walks past a new mural of the late actress Betty White, by artist Corie Mattie, on Thursday in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Update: Betty White's fans stepped up big time. The "Betty White challenge" called for fans of the late actress to donate to animal shelters and rescues on what would have been her 100th birthday, and Variety reports those donations added up to at least $12.7 million. That's the figure donated though Facebook and Instagram alone, per figures released by parent company meta. That tally came compliments of more than 390,000 people. Her team on Friday posted to Instagram a pre-recorded video of White they had planned to post on her Jan. 17 birthday. "It’s just absolutely amazing how much money all of you raised for the animals through #thebettywhitechallenge," the caption notes. Our original story from Jan. 9 follows:

Monday would have been Betty White's 100th birthday, but her death last month of a stroke dashed plans for a big celebration of her reaching centenarian status. That doesn't mean there won't be a celebration at all, though—in fact, fans all over the country are taking part in the "Betty White challenge," and they started things up even before Jan. 17 arrived. White was a big animal-rights activist, and so the challenge urges fans to "be more like Betty" on the day commemorating her birth by doing such things for her favorite cause as donating to animal rights groups, fostering or adopting a pet, or otherwise finding a way to help, per TMZ.

Fox News notes the challenge kicked off after a post promoting it on the Dogspotting Facebook page asked for fans to "make Jan. 17th the best day for rescue animals" and donate just $5 to a local animal shelter or rescue. That post went viral, and donations started coming in even before the target date, including to the American Humane organization. "Thank you to all who have donated in memory of #BettyWhite," the group wrote on Jan. 9 on social media. "We are honored to continue Betty's legacy and make the world a better, kinder place for all animals."

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One big name is helping with the pet-loving push on Monday. People reports country singer Trisha Yearwood is hosting a virtual event all day Monday on TalkShopLive, and that she'll be matching up to $10,000 in donations. "They need our help," Yearwood, who has two rescue dogs of her own with husband Garth Brooks, tells the magazine. "The common denominator is love. Betty showed us how. Now we have to keep it up and make sure her legacy lives on. Love all creatures, great and small!" (More Betty White stories.)

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