HBCUs are often underfunded, so when an HBCU can reach a fundraising record it’s an important milestone to celebrate. Recently, Benedict College surpassed its own goals while trying to support students during the pandemic. Get the uplifting full story from Simone Jamison at local FOX station WACH 57 below!

Fundraising during the pandemic hasn’t been an easy job. But, Benedict College is one institution going above and beyond to help keep students safe and offset the struggles of the pandemic.

Benedict College alumni set a historic record – raising over one and a half million dollars this year. It’s a milestone for the HBCU that came with unique challenges.

“As an alum and a fellow ‘HBCU’er’, I think it’s extremely important for us to develop that legacy of giving back,” said Cedelle Gates, Benedict College’s National Alumni Association president.

With students forced to take classes online – some without access to WIFI or digital technology off campus – Benedict College’s assistant vice president of alumni relations and advancement Ada Brown Belton spearheaded the campaign to cover expenses.

“For us, there is always going to be a lack of resources,” said Belton. “We have 62 clubs around the nation that was really a part of this effort. I think it does a lot to encourage our students.”

Belton says the alumni funds support endowed scholarships, sports, current operations and go to general student support – including a coronavirus emergency fund.

“This year was our 150th plus celebration year. Very important, very significant. I just considered it a privilege to be a part of this whole process,” Belton added. “We were determined to meet the goal of 1.5-million and so we are very excited about that.”

Cedelle Gates also chimed in.

“It’s extremely important in that it demonstrates our [alumni] support of a college itself, and our gratitude for the level of education that the college afforded us,” Gates said.

There are 2,140 students that attend Benedict College, as of fall semester, and with these funds, and others rolling in faculty and staff are hopeful of increasing those numbers. As well as getting more students to stay — and graduate.