"The Dream Whisperer", Knicks legend Dr. Dick Barnett, powered by his teammates at A-List and SEL Provider Robin is supporting 50 students in the 10th grade who are determined to achieve their goals and reach their dreams. We are currently accepting nominations for our 9th grade cohort, launching in February 2023.


We believe success in life starts with education, mental wellness and big dreams. From college prep classes to unique workshops led by legends on and off the court, these experiences break down the four walls of the traditional classroom and marry technology to experiential learning.

Students will be supported from the 9th grade through their first year in college with:

Core Values
In our students, we seek to develop the following core values:

Dr. Richard Barnett:
The Dream Whisperer

The Dream Whisperer, NY Knicks All-Star,
2x NBA Champion, Basketball Hall of Famer

Dr. Barnett and his team launched the Dr. Richard Barnett Foundation in 2020. The foundation’s mission is to provide higher education scholarships and internship opportunities to motivated New York City youth with incredible potential but limited financial resources. Through extensive educational, mental health and mentorship programming, the DRBF strives to inspire youth to chase their dreams and to empower them with the resources and support they need to get there.

A seasoned lecturer, Dr. Barnett has spoken in partnership with the National Basketball Association, Signature Bank, and Madison Square Garden, focusing on education, dreams and the limitless dimensions of human possibilities for aspiring students who continue to dream about their futures.

Read his thoughts on what he calls "The Dream Paradigm" here:

"The Dream Paradigm composes the disciplines of perseverance, sacrifice and determination driven by the unquenchable thirst to achieve a goal, scale an ambition, and live one’s dream. Dreams are often threatened by the many temptations young students face today. These obstacles challenge ambition on a daily basis, and must be overcome by commitment and dedication to your vision and dreams. A dream is a sustained philosophy of desire and purpose to help guide, focus and encourage one to continue the path of hard work, success and optimism. This is The Dream Paradigm."

Frequently Asked Questions

We firmly believe that every student has something special to offer, especially with the right advocacy and resources. The DRBF Scholars program is seeking to enroll young people with ambition and drive. We are looking for highly motivated, underrepresented 9th grade high school students who show exceptional academic and personal potential along with an interest in athletics. The DRBF Scholars must be based in the NYC area, have a valid email address, and have an ability to travel to in-person events as well as availability for our after-school programming.
Through academic support, career readiness and socio-emotional learning, the DRBF Scholars Program will help you grow, thrive and connect with other scholars around the city. Our program also offers a unique alumni network, which you would engage with for the duration of the program through your first year in college! Nominate yourself today, and let us support you in developing long-lasting friendships, widespread connections and limitless possibilities for your future.
February 2022, with a new cohort of 25 9th grade students to be added each year.
Our programming will support scholars from 9th grade through freshman year of college.
The program is free for students, and you will receive metrocards for transportation to and from all program events.
While many of our day-to-day offerings and seminars will be offered virtually, we believe in the value of face time with our students. For this reason, we will offer in-person programming for the following: career events and family events at MSG, weekly one-on-ones and team-based workshop sessions, and orientation and closing ceremonies. See calendar HERE for dates, times and locations.
Application Process:
  • Step 1: Submit your form.
  • Step 2: Once you submit your form, we will reach out within 48 hours to confirm receipt of the form.
  • Step 3: We will email the nominee to schedule an interview and request grades and one recommendation letter.
  • Step 4: We will conduct a 30-minute video interview.
  • Step 5: Notifications of admissions status will be sent via email as decisions are made in December.
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: December 13, 2021 at 5pm. To ensure best fit, our applications consider the following factors:
  • Nomination forms
  • Recommendations
  • Student grades and scores (if applicable)
  • Student short answers and interviews
Through the application process, our goal is not to evaluate a nominee’s academic prowess or writing skills. We are most interested in students who display the qualitative, character-based traits of a DRBF Scholar. So when it comes to perfect grades or polished writing, tell your nominee not to sweat the small stuff, and simply be themselves!
If your nominee doesn’t receive a first-round admission offer, we may offer them a spot on the waitlist. If they opt to remain on the waitlist, they may be offered admission later in the year.
Our weekly One-on-Ones + Learning Labs will be held for groups of 12 students in Midtown Manhattan. Students will engage in one-on-one advising sessions with our expert college advisors to define their goals and stay on track to achieve them. At the same time, the cohort of 12 will engage in group activities on topics such as career interests, college pathways, team building, leadership development, and more. This weekly activity is an opportunity for our scholars to spend meaningful time together and develop a sense of community that will last a lifetime.
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Other Services

Dr. Richard Barnett College Prep Capsule

Support a cohort of rising high school juniors and seniors with our College Prep Capsule!

The DRBF College Prep Capsule provides immediate support in college prep for motivated, low-income high school juniors and seniors through New York City Department of Education Vendor, A-List Education.

Services include:

  • Boutique-style SAT/ACT prep and college advising
  • Customized hourly plans and seminars
  • Support in additional topics of your choosing, including SEL Support, Financial Literacy, and more.

Last year’s students who worked with A-List Education averaged a 150 point increase on their SAT, and gained admission to Cornell, Bucknell, Williams and other top schools with up to $75,000 per year in scholarships