Alpha Phi Alpha Pledges $31,000 To Keep Women's HBCU Bennett College Open
The Black women's college needs $5 million by February to remain open.
Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, is at risk of losing its accreditation and needs $5 million by Feb. 1. As Blavity previously reported, the all-Black women's institution was placed on academic probation in 2016 after low enrollment forced budget cuts. Between 2010 and 2016, enrollment fell by nearly 50 percent.
Now, as the February deadline nears, another organization is stepping up to provide monetary assistance: the country's first Black fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. According to a press release from the college's website, Alpha Phi Alpha donated $31,000 on Saturday. The national Alpha organization contributed $30,000, while the local Kappa Lambda Chapter in Greensboro pledged $1,000.
General President Everett B. Ward, Ph.D., also mentioned that members of the fraternity would be helping to keep the school's doors open.
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"Alpha Phi Alpha is honored to present to you a check for $30,000," Ward said to Bennett President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins. "In addition, Alpha men around the world are going to make contributions to Bennett College. God bless you and the women of Bennett College and know that the men of Alpha Phi Alpha support you."
WXII 12 in Winston-Salem writes that Martin Luther King Jr., who was an Alpha brother, spoke at Bennett during a visit in 1958. Other notable Alpha men include musician Duke Ellington and late sports analyst Stuart Scott.
Dawkins thanked Ward for traveling to Greensboro to personally deliver the grant. In an interview following the ceremony, Ward added the impact of keeping Bennett open would have on future attendees.
"On a personal note, I appreciate President Ward for taking time out of his busy schedule to travel to Greensboro to hand-deliver the check," Dawkins said. "I know how busy he must be as President of St. Augustine’s University and that his time is valuable."
"Bennett's rich legacy must be preserved," he affirmed. "The college simply must remain in existence so it can continue serving as a beacon of hope for young women of color for generations and generations to come."
Other looking to support Bennett's efforts can donate online, text the word BELLES to the number 444999 or CashApp the school's tag $StandwithBennett to send their gifts. According to The Greensboro News & Records, Bennett has raised $2.7 million of the $5 million needed so far.
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