Bennett College Announces Investor and Philanthropist Kwanza Jones as Board Chair

Bennett College to advance its bold blueprint with new board leadership

Kwanza Jones

Kwanza Jones

GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Bennett College, US News & World Report’s #1 ranked national liberal arts college for boosting social mobility for its students, announces the election of artist, entrepreneur, philanthropist and multimillion-dollar impact investor Kwanza Jones as Chair of the Board of Trustees. Jones succeeds North Carolina State Senator Gladys A. Robinson in this role.

"Kwanza Jones brings catalytic leadership and a sense of urgency that is already propelling us into an exciting period of growth and expansion of opportunities for women at Bennett and beyond," said Suzanne E. Walsh, President of Bennett College. "She is leading our very engaged Board of Trustees who are fully committed to Bennett being open to and for the future."

A graduate of Princeton University, Straus Institute of Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University, and Cardozo School of Law, Kwanza Jones' career is a highlight reel for multi-hyphenates. As an acclaimed artist, speaker and communicator, Jones has taught cross-cultural negotiation as an adjunct professor at New York University, served as a court-appointed mediator for the New York City Civil Court, held leadership roles as a board member and advisor to numerous companies and nonprofits, including Susan G. Komen and UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, and had multiple chart-topping hits on the Billboard music charts.

"Kwanza's energy is extraordinary. Having chaired a board that led Bennett through a most difficult period to debt retirement and recruiting dynamic leadership, I'm excited to pass the Board Chair baton to Kwanza Jones; we need the kind of leadership that Kwanza offers," said Senator Robinson. "Kwanza will help move Bennett forward with strategic direction, creative thought, vision, resources, and the ability to access networks that align with Bennett's mission of educating women of color. With continued engagement and collaboration, Kwanza, the Board, Suzanne, and her leadership team will do magnificent work moving Bennett forward."

Jones is the founder and CEO of SUPERCHARGED, a media company that produces inspiring, energizing content and hosts an impact-oriented community and app. Jones and her partner José E. Feliciano are co-founders of the Kwanza Jones & José E. Feliciano SUPERCHARGED Initiative (KJSI), a philanthropic grantmaking and investment organization that invests in both nonprofits and for-profits making an impact across four key priorities: education, entrepreneurship, equity, and empowerment. KJSI and affiliates have committed more than $50 million to diverse founders and fund managers. By investing intentionally, but not exclusively, in women and people of color, KJSI increases access to capital for underrepresented entrepreneurs. Through KJSI, Jones was a lead donor in Bennett's strategic capital campaign in 2019.

"Bennett's impact is multigenerational. As the daughter and niece of Bennett alumnae, Kwanza is a great representation of the type of woman Bennett cultivates. One who is unafraid of doing things differently, creating opportunities, and advancing social justice and social responsibility," said Dr. Laura Colson, vice president of Academic Affairs. "That is consistent with our new strategic direction, which focuses on redesigning Bennett College in ways that will ensure we continue to graduate dynamic women who are ready to lead and make HERstory."

Other newly elected board officers include Vice-Chair Dr. Mark David Milliron, Senior Vice President and Executive Dean of the Teachers College at Western Governors University, and Board Secretary Natalie Renee Parker, Director of Talent Development at Wyndham Capital Mortgage.

Bennett also welcomed three new members to its board: Cassandra Jones Havard, Professor at University of Baltimore Law School; Carlinda Purcell, a retired educator who served as Superintendent of Schools in North Carolina, Alabama and Pennsylvania; and Madieu Williams, former National Football League (NFL) player for the Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers, and Washington Football Team.

“Bennett has always been ahead of the curve in educating women who promote equity and have a positive social impact. It’s an honor to lead and serve with the other board members as we build on this tradition,” said Jones. “I’m also excited about the partnerships and investments in Bennett from global brands like Peloton, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Fashion Nova, Tiffany & Co, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, BeyGOOD, and Shawn Carter Foundation. Boldness becomes Bennett and the women it elevates. I’m excited about what we are building.”

About Bennett College

Founded in 1873, Bennett College is a historically Black, liberal arts college committed to cultivating bold women leaders, entrepreneurs and agents of social change. Bennett combines an entrepreneurial spirit with a leading-edge vision for the future and emphasizes an integrated approach to its student body's intellectual, social and spiritual development. Beyond its undergraduate degree program, its continuing studies offerings provide learning opportunities for professional development and personal enrichment, engaging and inspiring women to connect, exchange ideas and upskill. For more information about Bennett College, visit bennett.edu.

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