Through its charitable arm, Papa John’s Foundation, the company donated 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,” the school wrote on its website.
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
The HBCU for women has been trying to raise money ever since it was in danger of losing its accreditation in December with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission. The commission placed the school on probation two years ago.
Bennett College President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins said, “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. Together, we hope to champion the continuing development of young women of color across the country.”
The school launched the “Stand with Bennett” fundraising and social media campaign to raise the funds and reached 45 percent of its goal with Papa John’s donation.
The donation did not come without some criticism from social media users, who were skeptical of supporting the pizza chain following controversial comments from its founder and former CEO, John Schnatter, who resigned from the company last year.
During an earnings call, Schnatter criticized NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality. He also said the N-word during a conference call.
Still not eating there.— Eather Henry (@emhenry1) January 24, 2019
Trying to remove the stain of Schnatter’s reputation. At what cost?— Amiri Mizan (@amirimizan) January 24, 2019
“This campaign is about more than giving dollars; it’s about helping Bennett College continue educating the next generation of black female leaders,” Victoria Russell, Papa John’s chief diversity, equity