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Bennett College One Step Closer In Fight To Remain Open, Surpasses Fundraising Goal To Raise $8M


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After multiple large-scale donations, Bennett College hurdled the first step to remain open after they were placed on notice in December to raise funds or lose their accreditation.

On Monday Bennett announced it raised $8.2 million, surpassing their intended goal of $5 million after a weeks long campaign. The school had a hard deadline of February 1 to raise the funds, before taking the next step in appealing to the decision handed down by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Bennet President Phyllis Dawkins said she rallied her staff around the cause after the board’s decision was made in an effort to save the livelihood of the Greensboro, North Carolina institution.

“Our spirits were low, to be sure, but we didn’t wallow in pity,” she said in an interview with the News & Observer . “We got right to work, right there in that lounge. We began to strategize about what we could do.”

Last month multiple organizations including Wells Fargo, Papa John’s Pizza Foundation, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation pooled together to donate millions of dollars to Bennett in an effort to avoid shuttering.

Bennet also waged a campaign from their website, encouraging the public to donate funds to keep the historically Black women’s college open. Spelman College and Bennett remain the only two historically Black colleges designated for women in the nation.

Last week multiple donors gave funds in Jussie Smollet’s name, after it was reported the Empire star was the subject of a homophobic and racist attack in Chicago. Several private individuals also gave money, in the form of $1 million from Los Angles based philanthropists, Kwanza Jones and Jose E. Feliciano. Dawkins said the fundraiser was a community effort, with some giving quarters, to smaller donations ranging from $1 to $20.

“We appreciate each and every gift that we were given, no matter how small or how large,” Dawkins said. “What matters most is that people gave, and they gave from the heart.”

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