Morris Animal Foundation is remembering the life and incredible impact of Betty White, President Emeritus, after news of her passing. White devoted her life to improving the lives of animals and was part of the Morris Animal Foundation family for over 50 years, supporting its mission to advance the health of animals around the world.
She served as a Trustee, Board President, Board President Emeritus, donor, spokesperson and other roles too numerous to mention.
“It is hard to imagine a world without Betty in it. She was a tremendous animal advocate who tirelessly supported the work of Morris Animal Foundation to improve the health of animals globally. All of us at the Foundation are mourning the loss of this amazing woman,” said Tiffany Grunert, President/CEO of Morris Animal Foundation. “We will miss her wit, her intelligence and, most of all, her love of animals and commitment to advancing their health. She was a true inspiration to our staff, her fellow trustees and all of our supporters.”
Morris Animal Foundation is thankful for Betty’s service to our organization and for helping us to advance animal health. Highlights of her tenure at the Foundation include:
- Serving as a Trustee from 1971-2013, as Canine Division Vice President from 1973-1982 and as Board President from 1982-85.
- Ensuring the Foundation continued to move forward in its mission to improve the lives of animals through her active participation in scientific discussions.
- Hosting events on behalf of Morris Animal Foundation, including the Gorillas in the Mist motion picture premiere.
- Raising awareness and encouraging thousands to support our work as our national spokesperson.
- Sponsoring more than 30 animal health studies to improve the health of cats, dogs, horses and multiple species of wildlife, including California sea otters and mountain gorillas.
- Established Betty White Wildlife Fund.
“Betty was always an active participant in our scientific review process. She often said that our scientific advisory boards were the engines that drove Morris Animal Foundation,” said Bette Morris, Morris Animal Foundation Board Trustee Emeritus and wife of the late Dr. Mark Morris Jr. “If they are the engines, then she certainly was our organization’s heart.”
White remained committed to helping animals throughout her life. One of her last acts of philanthropy for Morris Animal Foundation was to establish the Betty White Wildlife Fund, largely in response to the catastrophic effects of the Deep Water Horizon oil spill on marine life. Since Betty’s initial gift, others have contributed to and grown the fund and it has been used as a first line of defense in critical wildlife emergencies.
“Betty always put the animals first. In the 1990s, she suggested pain management should be an area of future research and funded the first few studies,” said Dr. Rob Hilsenroth, former Morris Animal Foundation Executive Director and a longtime friend of Betty White. “Today, if a veterinarian performs an elective surgery, like a spay or neuter without using pain management, she/he could face a malpractice charge. You can thank Betty White for that revolutionary change in the way we practice all phases of veterinary medicine today.”
If you would like to honor Betty White, please consider making a memorial gift to the Betty White Wildlife Fund at Morris Animal Foundation to benefit at-risk animals around the world.