Animal Welfare Nonprofits Expect Jolt on What Would Have Been Betty White's 100th Birthday

Animal non-profits across the country are expecting a large series of donations this upcoming Monday as part of the #BettyWhiteChallenge.

The late Betty White, who passed away December 31 at 99 years old, was a tireless advocate for animals, even creating her town television show "The Pet Set," which aired from 1971 to 1972, where celebrities would bring their animals and discuss pet care, ecology and wildlife preservation.

Although it is unclear who started this social media movement, celebrities including Kristen Johnston and George Takei have shown support for the challenge in honor of White's long-time animal advocacy.

Animal welfare charities and pet shelters are also getting ready for Monday, which would have been White's 100 birthday. The idea is to donate $5 to a local animal organization in White's name. Variations of the graphic have been shared more than 200,000 times across different social platforms.

According to American Humane, the country's first national humane organization, Betty White supported the organization for 70 years, longer than any other supporter in the organization's history.

"We have seen such an uptick in donations all due to Betty White," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, American Humane's CEO and president, on Good Morning America. "Betty White would be smiling from Heaven as she thinks about the Betty White Challenge on her birthday."

A member from American Humane wrote that White volunteered with the organization for decades, serving on its board of directors and even acting as a judge and presenter for the organization's televised "American Humane Hero Dog Awards." Her long-time commitment to the organization is one of the reasons they gave her the National Humanitarian Medal in 2012, the highest honor within the non-profit.

Betty White Challenge
Animal organizations across the country are expecting donations as part of the #BettyWhiteChallenge, asking people to donate $5 in the late-actress's name. NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: Actress Betty White (R) and Uggie the dog attends The Friars Club Salute To Betty White at Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on May 16, 2012 in New York City. Jim Spellman/Getty Images

"I've had many conversations with Betty about animal welfare, and I know she's looking down from heaven and really smiling," Ganzert said to the AP.

White even created the Betty White Wildlife Fund in 2010, which provided $1 million to animal rescue and rehab centers during the 2020 Australia wildfires.

People previously reported that at one time, White's family had 26 dogs and that when she was younger, she dreamed of being a forest ranger.

Joanne Yohannan, the senior vice president of the North Shore Animal League American in Port Washington, New York, also told the AP they are dedicating the next 100 animal rescues to White in honor of her birthday.

Holly Sizemore, Best Friends Animal Society's chief mission officer, told the Associated Press that the #BettyWhiteChallenge helped raise more than $25,000.

"What an incredible opportunity to honor Betty White's legacy — to come together as a nation and celebrate something that she was so passionate about, her love for animals," Sizemore said.

She said she hopes there will be even more donations on Monday.