Bennett College Receives $1 Million Challenge Grant As Fundraising Deadline Nears

Feb 1, 2019

Updated 6:20 p.m., Feb. 1, 2019

Officials at High Point University gave Greensboro-based Bennett College $1 million in the form of a 48-hour challenge grant on Friday. They hope the general public will respond by continuing to give to the private, historically black college for women. High Point officials will match whatever amount of donations Bennet receives from Friday evening through Monday at noon, up to $1 million.

With the clock ticking, this could put Bennett College officials on point with their $5 million fundraising goal. The money is needed to convince Bennett’s accrediting agency that the school is financially sound. Bennett’s accreditation was revoked in December over concerns that the college was not financially stable on a long-term basis. College officials appealed that decision and during the appeals process, the school is still fully accredited.

Bennett has a budget surplus from last year of more than $400,000 but the school ran budget deficits for seven of the last 11 years.

Bennett College President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins gives High Point University President Nido Qubein a thumbs up after he announced a $1 million challenge grant to the school from HPU
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School officials say donations are still coming in online, in the mail and people are delivering checks in person. Alumnae, churches, black sororities and fraternities, businesses and other individuals from across the country have contributed to Bennett’s fundraising campaign. High Point officials say they were moved by Bennett’s financial situation and felt compelled to help their neighbor school. A joint press conference will be held on Monday to determine how much the school raised over the next two days and how much High Point officials will give to the college.

Bennett's accreditation appeal will be held between Feb. 18 and 20 before the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools hearing committee. The college's President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins says if their accreditation is not reinstated, they will sue SACS. She's confident they will maintain their accreditation during the legal process but says they have applied for accreditation with the Transnational Association of Christian Schools as a backup. 

Posted 4:22 p.m., Feb. 1, 2019

With a midnight deadline looming, Bennett College officials in Greensboro say they are still $1.4 million away from their $5 million fundraising goal. The private, historically black college for women needs the money to convince its accrediting agency that the school is financially sound. Bennett’s accreditation was revoked last month over financial concerns.

School officials say donations are still coming in online, in the mail and people are delivering checks in person. A Bennett spokesperson says the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, which gave $100,000 to the school earlier this week, donated an additional $10,000 today. The AKAs, the country’s oldest African-American sorority, also pledged to give $10 million toward Bennett’s endowment over the next four years.

Bennett’s President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins says their last resort is to sell land and artwork that the college owns if they do not meet their goal, something they do not want to do. The school is still accredited during the appeal process. That hearing is set to take place before the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools appeals committee sometime between Feb. 18 and 20. As a backup, Bennett officials have also applied for accreditation from a national Christian accrediting agency. Bennett is a United Methodist institution.