The Office of Financial Assistance

Ron Isley Announces Initiative to Send Students to Harris-Stowe State University

ST. LOUIS, MO (December 6, 2016) — Ron Isley, Grammy Award Winner, producer and lead singer of The Isley Brothers is pleased to launch the Ron Isley Initiative that will send students to Harris-Stowe State University.  In honor of his accomplishments and passion for the St. Louis community, Isley will use his gift to provide a legacy for generations to come.  Isley will partner with the R. Whittington Foundation and Ira DeWitt of Notifi Music Group will host several annual events and engagements to provide full-ride, four-year scholarships for at least two first-year Harris-Stowe students.

According to Isley, “I'm excited about being a part of such an amazing and powerful movement. My goal is to have a major impact helping the community through the blessings of my own success stories. Being an inspiration as well as a tool to helping educate our youth is a wonderful feeling and I'm excited."  The Isley Initiative will launch on Saturday, October 28, 2017 with an Annual Black Tie Gala/Concert with Ron Isley and Friends at the Peabody Opera House.

The R. Whittington Foundation and Ira Dewitt will be instrumental to the success of the Ron Isley Initiative.   "I see music and education as building instruments not just for our communities but also as a way of implementing change in our world. Through this program I'd like to create a platform that would allow students to maintain hope and explore the opportunities of the impossible. As well as providing students with a support system that will give them confidence to know they can do all things," stated Ira DeWitt.

Dewitt and Whittington passion for the educating youth is exemplified by their dedication to the Isley Initiative. “I am looking forward to changing the mind-set of the youth who inspires to go to college but lack the resources and funding.  I know it's a game changer. I'd like to be that bridge to bring change,” said Rickey Whittington.

The Ron Isley Scholarships will financially support graduating seniors from a St. Louis area high school who will attend Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis, Missouri.  “Harris-Stowe is honored and sincerely grateful to Ron Isley for his dedication to the St. Louis community and his willingness send students to and through college, and we are proud to carry his legacy by transforming the Ron Isley Scholars into professionals and community leaders,” said Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack, president, Harris-Stowe State University.   “Harris-Stowe is truly thankful for Rickey Whittington’s and Ira DeWitt’s commitment and partnership.”

About Harris-Stowe State University
Harris-Stowe State University (HSSU), located in midtown St. Louis, is a fully accredited four-year institution that offers 31 majors, minors and certificate programs in education, business and arts & sciences. In 2014, HSSU ranked No. 1 in the state of Missouri and No. 47 in the nation in granting degrees in mathematics and statistics to African-Americans according to Missouri Department of Higher Education and Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, a newsmagazine that has ranked institutions conferring the most degrees to minority students for the past 30 years. For the second consecutive year, Harris-Stowe ranked No. 28 among the Top HBCUs in the country according to Niche, an online content provider of reviews and insight on more than 1,100 colleges nationwide. The university, which has origins dating back to 1857, celebrates its 160th year in 2017. Learn more at

About Ira DeWitt or Notifi Music Group
Notifi Music Group is a St. Louis-based independent record label and full-service recording studio that began in 2007. CEO Ira DeWitt owns the label, which has signed chart-topping artists such as 90s R&B singer Ginuwine.  St. Louis native artists Oli and Ms. Bee, as well as crooner Johnny Gill round out the roster.

About The R. Whittington Foundation
The R. Whittington Foundation is a resource for the region, dedicated to positively impacting the lives of those underserved, overlooked and disenfranchised.  Rickey Whittington is the Founder of the Foundation and knows firsthand the heart break of growing up in a neighborhood ravaged by poverty, drugs and lack of opportunity, yet overcoming it all! Serving the St. Louis community for 15 years, Rickey Whittington has devoted his time, talents and personal resources to ensure that people in hopeless circumstances receive opportunities to excel resulting in over 21 full-time college scholarships being awarded to at risk students worth over $2.6 million, over 30,000 toys distributed through the Foundation’s Christmas Toy Drive and over 5,000 families being fed during the Thanksgiving holiday. The Foundation has partnered with local and national leaders, celebrities and corporations to create an employment program, internship program and mentorship program all geared to improving the quality of life for at risk youth.