AHS receives $6 million estate gift from former “bottle baby” foster volunteers

Bottle baby

Longtime "bottle baby" foster volunteers Steve Nordberg and Betsy McDonald left $6 million to Animal Humane Society in their estate.

June 27, 2022

Animal Humane Society (AHS) received a $6 million gift from the estate of longtime foster volunteers Steve Nordberg and Betsy McDonald. This gift is the largest donation in Animal Humane Society’s 144-year history.

Between 2014 and 2019 Nordberg and McDonald devoted 2,225 hours as “bottle baby” foster volunteers, providing critical round-the-clock care to dozens of orphaned kittens, who must be bottle fed every two hours during the first weeks of their lives. They also supported AHS financially, frequently providing donation-matching funds that inspired others to give.

Nordberg passed away in 2020 and McDonald in 2021.

“Steve and Betsy were cat people at heart and knew that love comes in all sizes,” said AHS President and CEO Janelle Dixon. “They doted on all the kittens and cats that came into their home over the years and relished helping tiny kittens grow into healthy, loving cats. Their dedication to our mission, and to animals in our community, will live on through their inspiring gift.”

$5 million of the estate gift will serve as an early investment in a planned capital campaign that will transform AHS to meet the changing needs of animals and people in Minnesota. The contribution will support the eventual construction of a new, first-of-its-kind adoption and animal care campus in St. Paul. While still in the early plannings stages, the animal care campus will be designed to provide state-of-the-art specialized care for animals arriving at AHS and in our community and will expand our ability to keep people and pets together. The campus will also be a hub for programs, training, and immersive opportunities to inspire animal lovers of all ages.

The remaining $1 million of the estate gift will go into Animal Humane Society’s strategic reserve fund.

AHS receives no government funding, and all its programs are funded by private donations and modest fees for the services it provides. 

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