GREENSBORO, N.C. — Bennett College successfully met its $5 million goal, a crucial milestone to safeguard the college's accreditation.
The news came at a Monday news conference after Bennett College President Phyllis Dawkins expressed her gratitude to the more than 11,000 donors who helped reach this goal.
Dawkins said that, as of Monday, the college raised $8.2 million.
At the news conference, High Point University President Nido Qubein handed over a slew of high-bill donations, adding up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, from various bodies he and the university are associated with before finally presenting a $1 million check from the school.
Kwanza Jones also announced a $1 million donation as well.
The historically black women's college has been desperately raising money for six weeks to keep its accreditation.
The $5 million minimum is needed to help maintain the school's accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The school's only sanction was due to finances.
Dawkins previously said she worked every day since Dec. 11 to raise the funds. She also said Bennett College leaders would fly to Atlanta on February 18th to defend the school during the appeal process.
We asked Dr. Dawkins what the plan is to make sure Bennett College doesn’t have financial problems again.
“We have to change our business model,” said Dr. Dawkins. “We have to continue to create marketable degree programs. We have to continue to grow enrollment and retain our students and improve our student life. None of those were barriers to our success but we just need to make those changes as we are re-imagining Bennett for the future.”
We also asked Dr. Dawkins if any of these donations came with strings attached. She said some of the money is restricted to scholarships and one donation was made to grow the schools endowment fund, but for the most part she said no.
"High Point University is connected with the United Methodist Church; Bennett College is connected with the United Methodist Church," Quebein said. "It’s a neighboring school. We care deeply that this is one of two HBCUs for women in America, and therefore we wanted to step up."
The college also received half a million from Papa John's and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.