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Benedict college awarded $2.7 million dollar grant

The funds are being given to 5 SC HBCU’s enduring hardship during pandemic

Columbia, SC (WOLO) — BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is giving back in a big way.

As a part of a commitment to financially assist five South Carolina Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) facing hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the five institutions is Benedict College, which was recently gifted a grant of $2,725,000 dollars to help boost the school, that as a minority based university is part of a community that sees a disproportionate rate of coronavirus cases.

David Pankau, President and CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina says,

The devastation wreaked by the coronavirus on individuals, families, businesses and communities has been amplified among South Carolina’s vulnerable and minority populations… “It has been well reported that the coronavirus revealed our minority communities encounter profound disparities in many ways. At BlueCross, we believe healthy communities are defined not only by access to health care services, but also by the fostering of opportunity that comes from education, employment and the potential for an improved quality of life for everyone.”

The funds given to Benedict College will go toward investments in technology upgrades, student scholarships, faculty development and e-learning certification, which include hardship grants for students, devices and hotspots for virtual learning, and enhanced health and wellness services in addition to general operating budget relief.

This is not the first donation to the Columbia college from BCBS. The Prior to this award, BCBS provided a donation of cloth and N95 face masks to help support Benedict’s Covid-19 campus safety plan prior to the more than 2 million dollar grant.

Benedict College President and CEO Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis says the school is grateful for the support during what is an ‘extremely challenging time’. Artis goes on to say,

The communities served by Benedict College – overwhelmingly low wealth, first generation, minority populations – are among those most profoundly impacted by Covid-19.  This generous donation will go a long way towards addressing the technology challenges and faculty development needs.  Most importantly the gift includes resources to support the complex physical and mental health needs of our students.”

Meanwhile,  Leandra Hayes-Burgess, Vice President for Institutional Advancement released a brief statement saying,

This academic year will be extremely challenging and unlike any other the College has ever experienced.  However, with the investment and support of community partners like BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, we are certain that we will not only weather the storm of the Covid-19 pandemic, but emerge even stronger once it has ended”.

BCBS is Headquartered in Columbia, and has been operating in the Palmetto State for more than 70 years.

ABC Columbia, September 2, 2020.

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