One thing comes to mind when thinking about actress and comedic icon Betty White’s legacy: belly-aching laughs. She is downright hilarious. In addition to cracking us up, did you know she has also spent the last 40 years fighting for animal rights? This year, Betty celebrated her 91st birthday and created a campaign on Causes.com in honor of her lifelong commitment to animal rights. In just a few weeks, she raised more than $9,500 for the Morris Animal Foundation, a nonprofit she’s spent four decades supporting.
Morris Animal Foundation told us via email this week that “Betty’s birthday fundraiser was the first Causes initiative for Morris Animal Foundation. We initially launched the [Morris Animal Foundation cause] in 2012, in celebration of Betty’s 90th birthday and saw great support. To grow upon the success, we wanted to expand Betty’s birthday fundraiser to a new base of passionate, action-oriented supporters.”
People on Causes share actions widely through their social network and this campaign inspired tremendous peer-to-peer sharing with more than 320 people donating to Betty’s fundraiser in the first five days. Morris Animal Foundation told us, “We really love the engagement of Causes, specifically the goal tracking, share functionality and the comment plug-in.”
Morris Animal Foundation is focused on building a healthier world for animals. They said, “The donations will ensure that Morris Animal Foundation can fund high-quality research that will advance veterinary medicine. More specifically, the money raised will go to help support more than 120 studies already selected for funding this year and new studies that the Foundation’s scientific advisory board will recommend for wildlife in March and for cats and dogs in June.”
Here are some studies they are undertaking this year:
- Identify chromosomal abnormalities that could help classify feline gastrointestinal cancers and allow veterinarians to better tailor treatment for cats
- Evaluate the effectiveness of using stem cells to stabilize and possibly reverse chronic kidney disease in cats
- Determine whether stem cells could prevent or slow cranial cruciate ligament disease in dogs
- Identify gastrointestinal microbes that may contribute to canine obesity
- Evaluate whether a vaccine that prevents melanoma in dogs could also prevent the disease in horses
- Assess the health effects of oil and oil dispersant on oysters, which will help wildlife managers make good decisions in the event of an oil spill
- Improve methods for studying white-nose syndrome, a fungal disease that is rapidly killing off entire bat populations
NBC will air a Betty White birthday tribute tonight to honor her work as an actress and advocate for animal rights. In the meantime, scoot on over to her fundraiser, check out her video, and wish her a very happy 91 years young!