Orlando Animal Shelter Receives $50K in Donations for Betty White Challenge

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Betty white
Betty white

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An Orlando animal shelter is experiencing the power of Betty White's fans.

As of Tuesday morning, the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando received more than $50,500 in donations as part of the #BettyWhiteChallenge, which encouraged fans to donate to animal causes in honor of what would have been the late star's 100th birthday, according to Fox 35 News.

The shelter told the Fox affiliate that daily donation averages fluctuate, but last week they averaged around $500 a day.

RELATED: Betty White Would Be 'So Touched' to See Animal Shelter Donations in Honor of Her 100th Birthday

The #BettyWhiteChallenge began following the TV icon's death at age 99 on Dec. 31. Fans were called to donate at least $5 to an animal charity of choice on White's birthday, Jan. 17. The Golden Girls star was a lifelong champion of animal welfare and conservation.

"These are challenging times for the thousands of extraordinary local animal shelters and rescue groups across the United States," Kitty Block, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said in a statement to Fox 35 News. "There could be no better tribute to Betty White than to support them directly with donations, volunteer time and other commitment."

A GoFundMe representative previously told PEOPLE that animal-specific fundraisers and donations have been up since White's passing, with other organizations seeing the same change.

RELATED: 'Her Legacy Will Have a Lasting Impact': Animal Groups Remember Betty White's Lifelong Support

"The outpouring of love, the amazing amount of donations being given to all types of animal organizations is such a tribute to how Betty lived her life," her friend and longtime agent Jeff Witjas told PEOPLE. "As Betty would say, 'Thank you from the bottom of my heart.'"

"She would love that so much," her executive personal assistant Kiersten Mikelas added. "She would be so touched to see and hear that people were honoring her by donating to local groups who work so hard to rescue and rehabilitate animals. I can't think of a better tribute."

White, who rescued several dogs in her lifetime, remained committed to animal causes over the course of her life. She started working with the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association in 1966 and joined the Board of Trustees in 1974.

RELATED: Trisha Yearwood 'Excited' to Raise Funds for Rescue Pets Through the Betty White Challenge

In 1971, White also created a fan club, Bets' Pets, to help animal charities. She often supported fundraisers for animal welfare organizations, like the Morris Animal Foundation and American Humane.

Betty was honored in 2016 as the City of Los Angeles' "Ambassador to the Animals" for her lifelong work for animal welfare. Eleven years later, White received the James Smithson Bicentennial Medal for her "commitment to wildlife and efforts to create a sustainable planet," specifically through her charitable work with zoos and animal rescues.

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