AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Big news for Paine College. Alum of the school left a major donation before they died that leaders say will go a long way.

“Come grow Paine with us Lord. In fact, come help us roar with Paine.”

Prayers of hope and words of inspiration from Bishop Thomas L. Brown, Sr., the 54th Bishop of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. His message marked the occasion at Paine’s Religious Emphasis Assembly.

“God is always inviting the marginalized, the oppressed, those who are written off. Aren’t you glad to be at Paine? Because this institution has been written off by many and yet, Dr. Jones, we keep rising from the ashes,” he said.

And after that uplifting word, students, leaders and the community learned Paine received $150,000 from the estate of the late Ellis M. and Ann N. Johnson, both alums who loved the institution.

“[They] Loved, were in love with Paine College and they would have it no other way. Thank you so much,” said the Johnson’s niece, Traci Gallop.

Those funds will be part of the Growing Paine initiative now at $570,000 of its $6 million goal to move the school forward.

“Increase scholarships, increase and improve retention, help to underwrite capital improvements, help to underwrite residential halls improvements,” said Helene Carter, Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Paine.

Paine leaders invite the entire community to help with the Growing Paine initiative. You can sign up at