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A CEO’s Thoughts on The Betty White Challenge

January 13, 2022, Sharon Harvey

In the wake of Betty White’s passing, fans and supporters are calling for donations to shelters and rescues on January 17, what would have been her 100th birthday. Many shelters are already reporting thousands of dollars in donations. Sharon Harvey, Cleveland APL’s dynamic President & CEO, shares her thoughts on the beloved humanitarian and the challenge in her honor

This week, I’ve been asked to do several media interviews to recognize and celebrate the life of Betty White and comment on the Betty White Challenge. 

Personally, as a devoted fan, I grieve her loss. OMG, she made me laugh. 

Professionally, here’s my take. I’m a fundraiser and I will always be deeply grateful for any donations to the Cleveland APL for any reason. But this time is about celebrating the amazing legacy of kindness and compassion that has been inspired by Betty White. 

She supported many animal causes…. A therapeutic riding center, a guide dog charity, a wolf sanctuary, animal shelters and rescues, and more. 

For fans and members of the public who feel inspired to do something to recognize the life of this incredible woman, I am asking them to please consider donating to an animal charity. I encourage them to research animal causes that were important to Betty. Or donate to an animal cause that’s important to them in her memory. 

I’m also pretty sure that volunteering, fostering, adopting, and simply being kind would all be things that Betty White would appreciate. Most importantly, let’s all just take this moment to honor the life of an amazing woman who chose to use her voice to advocate for the value of animals in our society, and to make the world a better place for them and for us.

About Sharon Harvey
Since 2007, Sharon Harvey has served as the President and CEO of Cleveland Animal Protective League. She and her team have earned recognition for the APL’s innovative and progressive programs and as thought leaders. Sharon is frequently invited to speak at industry conferences and to participate in strategic conversations about the future direction of animal welfare. She serves on the boards of directors of the Ohio Animal Welfare Federation and Shelter Animals Count, and has previously been a board member of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and National Federation of Humane Societies.
  1. Thank you! I have been so uncomfortable with the idea of using a person’s death to the benefit of my organization. I don’t blame anyone who has participated, but it just didn’t feel right to me for my organization to post about it. If anything, I think it should be led by individuals and corporations donating and challenging others to do the same.

  2. I’ve also struggled with the overlap of Betty White’s birthday and the MLK remembrance. There is so much racial injustice that I can’t bring myself to hop on the Betty White challenge to ask for donations. We’ll certainly accept them, but haven’t made it a point. Not to take anything away from Betty White, but Dr. King’s memory and legacy and struggle for equality deserve to be celebrated and remembered and continued.

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