INDIANAPOLIS — Animal rescue and welfare organizations around the country are honoring the life and legacy of Betty White through a donation challenge Monday.
White, a comedic actress whose career spanned more than 80 years, died on Dec. 31, just weeks shy of her 100th birthday.
The #BettyWhiteChallenge, held on what would have been the actress' 100th birthday, encourages everyone to donate $5 to their favorite animal-focused charity.
White wasn't just known for her quick wit and comedic timing, she was also an outspoken advocate for animals of all kinds, winning her fans across generations.
Hoosiers, as well as animal shelters and rescue organizations across the state, have answered the call to take part in the challenge on Jan. 17.
The folks with Friends of Indianapolis Dogs Outside (FIDO) organized an online fundraiser, bringing in thousands of dollars in just one day to celebrate White's legacy of animal advocacy.
The organization said the money will likely be used to help with the cost to spay, neuter and vaccinate animals.
“I think it’s always a good thing for people to come together on a national level and do something good in honor of somebody that everybody liked," said FIDO executive director Darcie Kurtz.
Members of the boys and girls tennis teams from Delta High School in Muncie also took part in the challenge.
“On social media there was a lot of chatter about donating to animal shelters in honor of Betty White," said tennis coach Tim Cleland, who said students came to him last week with the idea of collecting food and supplies for the local animal shelter to honor the actress.
So that’s what they did, delivering them Monday to the Muncie Animal Shelter to mark White’s birthday.
“I think this is right up their alley in helping animals and doing something fun for Betty White. It’s just the kind of things kids can get behind," said Cleland.
Even though none of the local people who participated knew White personally, except through their television screens, they felt a connection, in part, because of her love for animals.
“I would assume that she would be greatly honored that people are doing things like this today in her honor," said Cleland.
“Hopefully she’s looking down on what’s going on today and feels good about what we’re all doing out here," said Kurtz.
Donations to shelters statewide
Several other shelters in Indiana benefitted from generous donations made in White's name:
And, just about every shelter in Indiana has posted to social media encouraging Hoosiers to make that $5 donation.
If you feel called to donate, here are several central Indiana animal shelters and rescue organizations taking part in the challenge. Click on the name of each organization to donate.
Some shelters and local businesses are taking it a step further by leading efforts of their own to support Indiana animals.
Thanks to a generous donor, Humane Fort Wayne will be matching all donations up to a total of $10,000. The shelter said the funds raised will be used to make much-needed repairs and replace kennel gates at the shelter.
MidWest Dachshund Rescue in Highland, Indiana, rescued a group of dachshunds in White's honor.
LaPorte County Animal Control and the Jane Bernard Animal Adoption Center are celebrating White's birthday by sharing photos and videos highlighting their senior animals. They hope this will help them find their forever homes.
Plus, Humane Indiana shared a video thanking a local business for decorating the shelter's yard on Monday.