GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Papa John’s Foundation has donated $500,000 to Bennett College, making it the largest gift that has been contributed to the Institution since administrators announced they need to raise a minimum of $5 million by Feb. 1 to try to remain accredited.
In addition to the half-million dollars, Papa John’s has pledged to develop an ongoing relationship with Bennett College.
“Papa John’s has supported educational institutions of all levels for years and we are a proud partner to many colleges across the country. That legacy continues through The Papa John’s Foundation’s support of Bennett College,” said Steve Ritchie, CEO of Papa John’s. “In August 2018, I committed to establishing a corporate foundation, and I’m pleased that its first grant will go to an institution that shares our values of equity, fairness, respect and opportunity.”
Last year, Bennett College launched a fundraising campaign to reach a goal of $5 million by February 1. With the support of various celebrities, Bennett alumnae and other HBCU alumni and the viral #StandWithBennett social media campaign, the institution had reached about 30% of its goal. With the gift from Papa John’s, Bennett has now reached 45% of its $5 million goal.
“This campaign is about more than giving dollars; it’s about helping Bennett College continue educating the next generation of black female leaders,” said Victoria Russell, Papa John’s Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer. “We’re thrilled to provide this support towards Bennett’s fundraising goal and encourage others to do the same.”
Papa John’s operates more than ten stores in the Greensboro area and will work with Bennett College and its partners to launch a national fundraising campaign to inspire other corporations and individuals to donate. In addition to the half million-dollar grant from The Papa John’s Foundation, the brand will purchase ads on national radio to raise additional awareness for Bennett’s campaign. These ads will air today through February 1, the deadline for Bennett to reach its $5 million goal.
.@PapaJohns and The Papa John’s Foundation is proud to #StandwithBennett. The @BennettCollege mission is critical, and continues our legacy of supporting colleges around the country. https://t.co/Gtkxug5W47
— Steve Ritchie (@stevemritchie) January 24, 2019
“We’re grateful and excited that The Papa John’s Foundation is choosing to support the protection of our College’s legacy as well as reignite the conversation around the importance of supporting diverse institutions around the country,” said Bennett President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins. “Together, we hope to champion the continuing development of young women of color across the country.”
On Dec. 11, 2018, Bennett College was removed from membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Bennett immediately appealed the decision and remains accredited during the appeal process. Bennett was removed strictly for financial reasons. The College was not issued sanctions against its academics, leadership, faculty or students.
Founded in 1873 as a coeducational institution, Bennett became women’s only in 1926. Spelman College in Atlanta is the country’s only other all-women’s HBCU.
Bennett has a history of producing outstanding women leaders, including: the first African-American woman licensed surgeon in the south; the first woman or African-American to head the U.S. Peace Corps, the first African-American mayor of the city of Greensboro; the first African-American female mayor in the state of Washington; the writer of the screenplay “The Loving Story,” which in 2016 was turned into an Academy Award-nominated motion picture; and the first woman to hold the position of Director of Drug Program and Policies and youngest Director within the Association of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA); and the first African-American woman to serve as Assistant Attorney General in the state of Massachusetts – just to name a few.
To join The Papa John’s Foundation and #StandwithBennett, please donate here.
Ways to give to Bennett College:
- Online: bennett.edu/donate
- Text2Give: Text the word BELLES to the number 444999
- Cash App: $StandwithBennett
- S. Mail: Send a check to Bennett College, Office of Institutional Advancement, 900 E. Washington St., Greensboro, N.C. 27401