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‘Bottle baby’ volunteers gift $6 million to Animal Humane Society

The donation, which came from the estate of two longtime foster volunteers, is the largest gift in the Animal Humane Society's 144-year history.

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — Editor's Note: The video above originally aired on KARE11 on May 2, 2020.

The Twin Cities-based Animal Humane Society (AHS) recently received its largest donation ever, thanks to two longtime cat lovers.

The estate of foster volunteers Steve Nordberg and Betsy McDonald gifted $6 million to one of nation’s leading animal welfare organizations, which has been around for 144 years.

Nordberg and McDonald devoted 2,225 hours as “bottle baby” foster volunteers between 2014 and 2019, AHS said in a statement Monday. The pair provided critical round-the-clock care to dozens of orphaned kittens who had to be bottle fed every two hours during the first weeks of their lives.

“Steve and Betsy were cat people at heart and knew that love comes in all sizes,” said AHS President and CEO Janelle Dixon in a statement. “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.”

Nordberg passed away in 2020 and McDonald in 2021, and both wanted their relationship with the Minnesota nonprofit to live on.

About $5 million of the donation will go toward a planned capital campaign and future construction of a new, first-of-its-kind adoption and animal campus in St. Paul. The campus will be designed to provide specialized care for animals arriving at AHS, and act as a hub for programs, training and immersive opportunities to inspire lovers of all ages, AHS said.

The remaining $1 million is planned to go into Animal Humane Society’s strategic reserve fund.

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