Bennett College pushed closer to its $5 million fundraising goal late Friday when High Point University announced that it would give $1 million to help rescue the financially struggling school.
The gift moved Bennett to within $400,000 of the amount it needs to regain its accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
High Point University President Nido Quebin said the university’s gift came with a challenge to other potential donors to help Bennett cross the finish line.
Bennett, founded in 1873 to educate freedmen, losts its accredition in December after SACSCC determined that the Greensboro school’s financial reserves were insufficient. Bennett President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins then set a Feb. 1 deadline to raise $5 million.
Last week, the Papa Johns pizza company and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation each gave $500,000 to assist Bennett, which in 1926 became a women’s-only school. Bennett has received other significant donations from black churches as well as from black fraternities and sororities.
A handful of black Celebrities, including Jussie Smollett of the television series “Empire,” also have sought to raise public awareness of Bennett’s plight.
A Bennett official told Qcitymetro the school would hold a press conference on Monday to announce the results of its campaign.