Challenge in memory of US actress Betty White raises RM394,000 for zoo in Greater Los Angeles

A campaign set up in honour of actress Betty White following her death on December 31 has collected RM394,000 for a zoo in Greater Los Angeles. — Picture via Facebook/ Betty White

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 — A zoo in Greater Los Angeles received US$94,297 (RM394,670) in donations from a campaign that started following the death of actress Betty White.

The campaign, called the #BettyWhiteChallenge, began following her death on December 31, People reported.

The challenge encouraged people to donate to local animal shelters, rescues, and other animal welfare organisations on January 17, White’s birthday.

White, who died at age 99, was a lifelong animal advocate who spent decades working with rescue organisations, zoos, and nonprofits. 

In a press release, Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association (GLAZA) said that they received thousands in donations from various contributors, including The Walt Disney Company, which gave US$25,000 (RM104,635); and Pink’s Hot Dogs, which donated US$3,000 (RM12,556). 

They also were given proceeds from Madame Tussauds Hollywood’s January 17 Betty White event.

“We are blown away by the number of donations we received yesterday as part of the #BettyWhiteChallenge,” GLAZA President Tom Jacobson said in the press release.

“Betty would be so thrilled to see the outpouring of support in her honour. We know so many worthy animal and wildlife organisations 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 honouring her legacy at the Los Angeles Zoo.”

White’s executive personal assistant Kiersten Mikelas told the portal that the late comedian would have loved the viral challenge.

“She would be so touched to see and hear that people were honouring her by donating to local groups who work so hard to rescue and rehabilitate animals,” Mikelas said.

“I can’t think of a better tribute.”

Meanwhile, Mikelas also announced that White’s estate has offered her the opportunity to manage White’s social media accounts.  

“I am so grateful, and look forward to posting fun and meaningful memories.  I also hope Betty’s social media will become a place to promote the things that mattered to her most animals, the environment, being kind, all that she embodied.”