GREENSBORO, N.C. – Papa John’s Pizza has donated $500,000 to Bennett College in Greensboro in an effort to keep the school open, according to school officials.
The private, historically black college for women needs $5 million by February 1 to remain open. The school has raised $1.5 million since Dec. 11.
Since then, Alpha Phi Alpha donated $31,000 and Newmark Knight Frank donated $10,000.
Growing their enrollment is the main way to keep the college thriving.
Regardless of the outcome, seniors graduating in May will be able to walk across the graduation stage.
Bennett College thanked Papa John’s for their contribution in a Twitter post on Thursday.
The school launched a strategic plan to make sure this probational period does not happen again. There are four main goals of the plan; fiscal stability, new majors, stabilization of the college and improving student life.
Please join us in sending a Thank you 🍕@PapaJohns 🍕CEO @stevemritchie for donating $500,000 to our college. We appreciate you and the company standing with us! #StandwithBennett this is a huge step towards our goal! 🙏🏿🙏🏾🙏🏽🙏🏼#PapaJohns #SteveRitchie pic.twitter.com/6F5NBzCwoy
— Bennett College (@BennettCollege) January 24, 2019
This donation follows a turmultuous 2018 for the pizza company after the face and founder of Papa John’s was sliced out of its ads and booted from his office after he admitted to using the N-word during a company conference call.
Papa John’s also announced that Schnatter will “cease all media appearances, and not make any further statements to the media regarding the company, its business or employees,” the company said in a statement.
In July, Papa John’s CEO Steve Ritchie posted an open letter promising the company would take steps to “rebuild trust from the inside-out.” They include hiring an independent expert to audit the company on a diversity basis, and deploying senior management to hold listening session with rank-and-file employees.
“Racism and any insensitive language, no matter what the context simply cannot — and will not — be tolerated at any level of our company,” the letter said.