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Viral #BettyWhiteChallenge campaign raises $70K for L.A. Zoo

  • CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION/AP / 2015
                                Betty White accepts the legend award at the TV Land Awards at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, Calif. The late Betty White was a tireless advocate for animals for her entire life, from caring for homeless animals as a child to launching her own weekly TV show “The Pet Set” dedicated to her celebrity friends and their pets. Her biggest contribution, though, was fans donating to animal welfare charities and local shelters on Jan. 17, as part of the #BettyWhiteChallenge.

    CHRIS PIZZELLO/INVISION/AP / 2015

    Betty White accepts the legend award at the TV Land Awards at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, Calif. The late Betty White was a tireless advocate for animals for her entire life, from caring for homeless animals as a child to launching her own weekly TV show “The Pet Set” dedicated to her celebrity friends and their pets. Her biggest contribution, though, was fans donating to animal welfare charities and local shelters on Jan. 17, as part of the #BettyWhiteChallenge.

LOS ANGELES >> Even in death, Betty White is helping her beloved animal friends.

The Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association has raised more than $70,000 through the nationwide #BettyWhiteChallenge campaign, which encouraged fans to donate to animal welfare organizations on what would have been the “Golden Girls” star’s 100th birthday on Monday.

The money — $70,389, to be exact — came from 1,731 donations. They hailed from 49 states, as well as Washington, D.C., and 11 countries, including Malta, the Netherlands and Australia, a rep for GLAZA, the nonprofit partner of the L.A. Zoo, said Tuesday.

White, a vocal champion of animal welfare and wildlife conservation, served on GLAZA’s board of trustees and was a zoo donor and honorary zookeeper. A tribute fund in her name, which will remain active through Jan. 31, was also set up to honor her.

The zoo also created a self-guided “Betty’s L.A. Zoo Tour” with signs displaying her connection to a particular animal or location and dedicated a rose memorial garden in its Allen Ludden Plaza to the TV pioneer, who died on Dec. 31 following a stroke. (The plaza was named for White’s late husband.)

GLAZA said that donors included $25,000 from the Walt Disney Corp., $3,000 from Pink’s Hot Dogs and the proceeds from a Madame Tussauds’ Betty White event on Monday.

“We are blown away by the number of donations we received yesterday as part of the #BettyWhiteChallenge,” GLAZA President Tom Jacobson said in a statement Tuesday. “Betty would be so thrilled to see the outpouring of support in her honor. So many worthy animal and wildlife organizations were greatly impacted by yesterday’s challenge, and we know Betty is smiling. Betty is a true champion of animals in both life and death, and we look forward to honoring her legacy at the Los Angeles Zoo.”

On social media, $900,000 was raised across Facebook and Instagram for other animal welfare organizations, according to Meta spokesperson Anna TenBroek, adding that more than 26,000 people donated to various fundraisers for the challenge.

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