Iowa’s largest non-profit animal shelter is seeing a remarkable show of love for the late actress and animal advocate Betty White.
Tom Colvin, chief executive officer of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, says more than 700 donations were made to the ARL on Monday in White’s honor on what would have been her 100th birthday.
“It’s estimated, at this point, that we’re looking at over $25,000 coming in so far,” Colvin says. “It’s coming in in various increments. Some people wanted to do the $5 and others wanted to do a lot more than that.”
The Betty White Challenge started a few weeks ago as a social media movement following her death on December 31st. Colvin had no idea what to expect in terms of donations and is overwhelmed with appreciation for the response.
“I’m not that surprised because I know what Betty White meant to so many people,” Colvin says. “So many of us grew up with her. Regardless of your age, she was the perennial person on television and in movies and always had that great attitude and, of course, her love for animals showed through on everything.”
Eighty-percent of the ARL’s annual budget is based solely on donations and the Des Moines-based shelter takes in more than 11,000 animals every year. “We also are so dependent on donations,” he says, “not only to care for those animals, but to actually run the various programs we have to keep animals out of the shelter, to help people stay united with their pets, maybe through a pet pantry or low-cost or no-cost spaying and neutering.”
The ARL serves pets — and people — across Iowa through its programs, which include pet adoption, humane education, pet behavior training, spay/neuter, animal cruelty intervention, and more. Donations can still be made once, monthly or through any of several programs, like the Full Bellies Food Fund, the Miracle Medical Fund or Paw It Forward.
You can donate here: https://www.arl-iowa.org/donate/