Local & State
|Bennett College beats $5 million fundraising goal with a flourish|
|$8.2 million in gifts for accreditation appeal|
|Published Tuesday, February 5, 2019 8:44 am|
|PHOTO | HIGH POINT UNIVERSITY|
|Bennett College President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins acknowledges High Point University President Nido Qubein last week after High Point made a $1 million gift to the #StandWithBennett campaign. Bennett, a historically black college for women, raised $8.2 million, exceeding a $5 million goal set to maintain its accreditation.|
Bennett College exceeded the $5 million fundraising target to maintain its accreditation.
The historically black college in Greensboro, one of only two with an all-women enrollment, has raised $8.2 million, President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins announced on Monday. The #StandWithBennett campaign, sparked by social media raised awareness to the school’s plight, and the response was approximately 11,000 donations by corporations, nonprofits and individuals.
“The entire Bennett College family is grateful to everyone who contributed to our fundraising campaign, no matter how much they gave,” Dawkins said in a statement. “We are thankful to the Greensboro community, people throughout North Carolina and those across the country for the way they have stepped up to Stand With Bennett. We also appreciate the many words of encouragement and all of the prayers made on our behalf. Bennett is truly blessed.”
Bennett’s accreditation was revoked in December by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, which puts the school’s federal funding at risk. An appeal is scheduled later this month, and the accrediting agency demanded the school raise $5 million by Feb. 1 for day-to-day operations as a condition of extending membership.
SACSCOC placed Bennett on probation in 2017 because of a lack of funds and notified the school in December that it intended to take away its accreditation unless it raised $5 million by Feb. 1.
High Point University President Nido Qubein, who announced a $1 million donation on Feb. 1, presented another $357,500 on Monday. Also, Kwanza Jones and her husband José Feliciano donated $1 million as a salute to Jones’ mother, Dorothy Wilkerson Jones, who graduated Bennett in 1965 and aunt Brenda Wilkerson Hoover, a 1963 grad.
“I am a very proud African American woman who wears my crown,” Jones said. “I am a queen that was raised by queens. I am a queen who knows other queens lift other queens. They raise queens. They raise kings. They raise the world. They elevate everything. So that is the foundation of why my mother said, ‘you know, you all should give to Bennett.’”
Said Dawkins: “For an African American woman to bless the college in this way is profound. All of us at Bennett College are eternally grateful to Kwanza Jones and her husband and we thank God for her mother and her aunt. Clearly their love for Bennett and their understanding of ‘to whom much is given much is required’ rubbed off on Kwanza.”
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