Betty White, challenge, animal shelter

People have donated millions of dollars to animal shelters and rescues in Betty White's honor.

Social media can feel like a mixed bag sometimes, so it's nice to be reminded that our constant connectedness can be used as a force for good.

Fans of the late, great Betty White have proven that point with the overwhelming success of the #BettyWhiteChallenge.

When Betty White passed away on December 31, 2021, the world let out a collective, "Well, damn." Everyone knew it was going to happen sometime—she was 99 years old, after all—but people hoped she'd make it to her 100th birthday, which was a mere couple of weeks away.

After her passing, fans wanted to do something to honor her. White had been an outspoken animal lover—a "zoo nut," as she called herself—and did a lot of work for animal welfare when she was alive. So prior to her birthday, January 17, a campaign emerged on social media to raise money for animal shelters and rescues in her honor. No one knows who started it, but it was dubbed the #BettyWhiteChallenge and it soon spread to all corners of the internet.


On January 21, Variety reported that $12.7 million had been raised via Facebook and Instagram, according to parent company Meta. The money was donated by more than 390,000 people.

Best Friends Animal Society shared a video shared by Betty White's publicist on January 18 with a final message to her fans, writing, "We are so very grateful for all Betty White did for animals in need during her lifetime. 😻 We were absolutely blown away by the support we received during the #BettyWhiteChallenge and can’t thank everyone enough for their donations. At last count, we raised over $340,000, which will make a huge difference in the lives of homeless pets across the country. Thank you, Betty White!"

So many Humane Society locations and other animal welfare organizations shared the incredible donations they received in Betty White's name.

From hundreds to thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, animal shelters and rescues received a deluge of donations thanks to Betty White's life of service to animals and reputation for being an all-round delightful human being. She will be missed, but she leaves an incredible legacy, which now includes thousands more animals who are being better cared for thanks to her influence.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

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Matthew McConaughey in 2019.

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey made a heartfelt plea for Americans to “do better” on Tuesday after a gunman murdered 19 children and 2 adults at Robb Elementary School in his hometown of Uvalde, Texas.

Uvalde is a small town of about 16,000 residents approximately 85 miles west of San Antonio. The actor grew up in Uvalde until he was 11 years old when his family moved to Longview, 430 miles away.

The suspected murderer, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed by law enforcement at the scene of the crime. Before the rampage, Ramos allegedly shot his grandmother after a disagreement.

“As you all are aware there was another mass shooting today, this time in my home town of Uvalde, Texas,” McConaughey wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Once again, we have tragically proven that we are failing to be responsible for the rights our freedoms grant us.”

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Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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