Fearing closure after losing accreditation, Bennett College, one of the few all-women HBCUs, has received a large donation from Papa John’s to keep them open.
According to News & Records, the HBCU announced the pizza company gifted the $500,000 award from the Papa John’s Foundation on Thursday morning (Jan. 24).
Steve Ritchie, the newly appointed CEO of the chain posted the good deed to Twitter aligning their good faith with the college.
.@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 shared last year that the values that would drive the transformation of Papa John’s would be equity, fairness, respect, and opportunity,” Papa John’s said in a statement, alluding to the infamous incident where founder John Schnatter used racist language in a conference call.
“We’re proud to support Bennett College, which not only shares these values but embodies them in their continual pursuit of inquiry, civic engagement, social justice, lifelong learning, and equity for all.”
Bennett College is one of two historically black colleges for women left in the country. Unless the college can raise $5 million by the Feb. 1, the college will end its reign after 145 years. A few weeks before, the all-girls-school received a $40,000 donation from Mt. Zion Baptist Church and on Thursday (Jan. 24), the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation of Winston-Salem announced its gift of $500,000.
“To get (these donations) back to back, it’s overwhelming,” Bennett College President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins told the outlet. Papa John’s gift might come with a few side-eyes from critics, but Dawkins cited the comapny’s new leadership as a reason why she accepted the gift.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges revoked Bennett College’s accreditation in December, so now the HBCU is looking for the money necessary to hold onto its accreditation.
Possibly a good deed, or maybe just an attempt to turn the bad press, all we know is this donation is one step closure to keeping Bennett College open.