After facing financial issues that threatened its status as an accredited school, Bennett College may be saved following a strong social media push for its fundraising campaign.
A Monday tweet from the North Carolina school’s official account confirmed that they had raised $8.2 million, far surpassing the $5 million fundraising goal.
The #StandWithBennett campaign got a surge of support following celebrity signal boosts, assistance from other schools, and a flagrant PR stunt by Papa John’s, who want you to know that they are definitely not racist.
The North Carolina school, one of only two all-women’s HBCUs, had its accreditation on track to be revoked (pdf) by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges after apparently not fulfilling an expectation that the school have “sound financial resources and a demonstrated, stable financial base to support the mission of the institution and the scope of its programs and services.”
At a press conference, Bennett College President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins gave a heartfelt thanks to those who donated—“more than 11,000 donors from across the United States,” Dawkins said. The heartwarming donations Dawkins described included a “North Carolina Central University graduate who was furloughed during the government shutdown but still made a contribution to Bennett,” along with “Erwin Montessori students from right here in Greensboro who collected about $72 in quarters to help us out.”
Dawkins also cited a strong surge of support from alumni of other HBCUs with varying degrees of involvement with Bennett College—some who said the school directly impacted their futures, others who just wanted to help.
Per the disclosure statement by the SACSCOC, an official decision about Bennett’s future should be made by the end of February.