Foundation teams with Lindenwood, Nelly to send students to college

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A local foundation is teaming up with the hip hop artist and local university to help some students dreams come true. The partnership is with Grammy Award Winning Hip- Hop artist Nelly, Lindenwood University and the R. Whittington Foundation. It's a way to pay it forward in a big way.

Rickey Whittington is  a well-known executive at Plaza Motors Dealership in Creve Coeur, Missouri. Whittington has sold luxury cars to the rich and famous, but what many people may not know is that Whittington has been giving back to the community for more than a decade.

"I always told myself if I was able or ever got into a position to do better, I would come back and give back and make a difference. I kept my promise," Whittington said.

Whittington has been living up to his promise each and every day through the R. Whittington Foundation. He launched his first toy drive 15 years ago and has since donated thousands of toys and clothing to area churches, families and organizations.

Rickey is also one of the co-founders of the annual Nelly Black and White Ball. It began as a partnership between the Grammy Award-winning artist, Lindenwood University, and the R. Whittington Foundation. The partnership has one goal in mind: provide scholarships to well-deserving students.

Taylor Harris is one of 21 scholarship recipients and the first child in her family of six kids to go to college.

"I am completely grateful and I thank Mr. Whittington for what he has done for me and my family," Harris said.

It's a full-ride scholarship, which includes full tuition for five years, room and board, as well as an iPad and iPod.

The R. Whittington Foundation is now gearing up to partner with Grammy Award-winning artist Ron Isley, and the President of Harris Stowe State University Dr. Duwan Warmack, to provide the same opportunities to students at to Harris Stowe. The scholarships at Harris Stowe State University is expected to be awarded next year.