Why this story matters: Bennett College in Greensboro is one of two historically black colleges for women left in the United States. (Spelman College in Atlanta is the other.) Unless Bennett can raise $5 million by Feb. 1, it may lose its accreditation and be forced to close after 145 years.
Bennett College is closing in on its Feb. 1 fundraising deadline, and the community is helping it to cross the $5 million finish line.
Over the weekend, Mount Zion Baptist Church in Greensboro and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., made donations totaling more than $70,000 to the college — one of two historically black colleges for women.
On Saturday, gentlemen representing the nation’s oldest African-American fraternity presented Bennett President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins with a $31,000 contribution on behalf of the national organization and members of the Greensboro graduate chapter.
“Bennett College is a phenomenal asset to the community that deserves to be supported,” Chuck Wallington, president of the Kappa Lambda graduate chapter, said in a statement.
Alpha Phi Alpha’s General President Dr. Everett Ward, who is also President of St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, said he hopes other fraternities and sororities will similarly support Bennett College.
The charity continued Sunday morning as Mount Zion Baptist Church in Greensboro donated $40,000 to the institution. Student Government President Alexis Branch, Vice President of Institutional Advancement Danny Gatling and Dawkins all attended Sunday’s service, according to WFMY News 2.
How did Bennett get here?
In December, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) announced that due to Bennett’s inability to stabilize its finances, its membership would be revoked. Without accreditation, Bennett could not offer federally guaranteed loans to the roughly 471 students currently enrolled there. And without those loans, the school, founded in 1873 to educate freedmen, could not survive.
The college appealed the decision and will maintain its accreditation until a hearing next month. Bennett said that it would raise $5 million to demonstrate that it is financially stable. As of Jan. 21, Bennett has reached 32 percent of the $5 million target.
In a plea to the community, Bennett released its #StandWithBennett outreach campaign that caught the attention of celebrities like actors Jussie Smollett and John Amos, who encouraged their social media followers to donate.
At our peak in the 1930s we had 121 HBCUs, now we’re down to 101. Don’t let us be down to 100 if Bennett College, an institution who has made the education of black women a priority since 1926, closes its doors. We must continue the legacy of #BennettCollege Please Click or share @bennett_college and Donate today using the link in their bio and share using #standwithbennett love and respect ✊🏿🙏🏿 #HBCU
How you can donate to Bennett College
— Visit www.bennett.edu/donate
— Text ‘Belles’ to 444999
— Send via CashApp to $StandwithBennett
— Mail a check to:
Office of Institutional Advancement
900 E Washington Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
Memo line – #StandWithBennett
Katrina Louis is managing editor of qcitymetro.com who can always find something to do in Charlotte. She’s an offline hustler (and has the shirt to prove it) but when online, find her on Instagram and Twitter.