Betty Whitemay have left this world days before her 100th birthday, but the actress’ charitable work lives on through her fans.
The 99-year-old comedian, who died on December 31, was a huge animal advocate and volunteered with rescue and shelter associations all over Los Angeles.
The Greater L.A. Zoo Association (GLAZA), which was one of those organizations, revealed they were flooded with more than $70,000 worth of donations on Monday, the same day as Betty’s triple-digit birthday.
Following the Golden Girls star’s death, fans quickly began a viral campaign called the #BettyWhiteChallenge. The purpose of the challenge was to encourage people to donate to organizations that helped animals.
GLAZA President Tom Jacobson‘s said they were “blown away” by the $70,389 in donations they collected in connection to Betty’s birthday.
“Betty would be so thrilled to see the outpouring of support in her honor. We know so many worthy animal and wildlife organizations were greatly impacted by yesterday’s challenge, and we know Betty is smiling,” Jacobson stated.
“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,” he added.
It wasn’t only Betty’s fans that donated, but companies in the industry and around Tinseltown that worked closely with the legendary actress. The Walt Disney Company gave $25,000, and the comedian’s beloved Pink’s Hot Dogs donated $3,000.
Betty enjoyed the L.A. staple hot dog joint so much that they named an item on the menu after the actress called “the Betty White Naked Dog.” Pink’s Hot Dogs’ donations came from selling 452 of those exact hot dogs.
The 9-inch, all-beef dog has no toppings or condiments and runs for $5.20. Since her death, it’s become a permanent addition to the menu.
“We thought that it would be uplifting to recognize her life, it would be a positive experience for our customers and it would be a way to make a contribution,” the company’s co-owner Richard Pink, whose parents started the La Brea spot in 1939, stated.
“We just thought it would be the right thing to do.”