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Matthews family honored

Bob Higgins, right, Chairman of the Board for The Community Foundation of South Alabama, presents the 2017 Ann & Fred Delchamps Distinguished Philanthropist Award to, from left, Hooper Matthews III, Cindy Matthews Colville and Dale Matthews Ash.

Since 1967 the Matthews family has run the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of Atmore, during which time they have also generously contributed to the improvement of their home county.

Today the Matthews siblings – Dale Ash, Cindy Matthews Colville and Hooper Matthews III – continue to support and promote philanthropy while making a remarkable impact on their community, building on the legacy and example set forth by their parents.

The generosity in philanthropy they have exhibited is one of the reasons the siblings were selected as the recipient of the 2017 Ann and Fred Delchamps Distinguished Philanthropist Award by The Community Foundation of South Alabama.

“We are thrilled to recognize the efforts of Dale Ash, Cindy Colville and Hooper Matthews III through the presentation of the Delchamps Award,” said Rebecca Byrne, President and CEO of The Community Foundation of South Alabama. “The family’s dedication to their personal mission of creating a better community through philanthropy is an inspiring story of perseverance, duty and, most of all, heart.”

The Ann and Fred Delchamps Distinguished Philanthropist Award was created in 2014 as a way to honor an individual or family who has demonstrated exceptional philanthropic generosity of time, monetary contributions and leadership.

Fred Delchamps Jr. was a supermarket executive who carried on his family’s longtime grocery business. Along with his wife, Ann, the couple were staunch supporters of the arts both in Mobile and statewide. They both served as chair of the Alabama State Council on the Arts, while Ann was instrumental in leading the Mobile Arts Council, First Night Mobile and Candlelight Christmas at Oakleigh.

Through the A.F. and Ann Delchamps Charitable Fund at CFSA, their legacy continues to provide support for a wide range of causes, including youth development, cultural programming, scholarships and aid for the underprivileged.

Like the Delchamps family, the Matthews siblings have tirelessly donated their time, talents and resources to improving their community, a characteristic that can be traced back to the influences of their parents.

“To God be the glory,” the siblings said in a statement. “The award was very humbling and honored the legacy of our parents, Hooper Matthews and Merle Matthews who had huge giving hearts. Growing up as a sharecropper, our mother believed in work, hard work and her constant mantra was ‘You can’t outgive God. You just try and he will give it back to you 100-fold.’ Those beliefs are embraced also by our Pepsi family who are active in all the communities in Escambia, Monroe, Conecuh and north Baldwin counties. Five of our co-workers serve on Chamber of Commerce boards in five cities and three counties and help us identify areas where we can help. We are just small town people who try to do what we can to help wherever and whenever possible.”

In 2007 they established the Hooper W. Matthews Jr. Forestry Scholarship Fund at The Community Foundation of South Alabama to honor their family’s patriarch, and all three were instrumental in starting the Atmore Community Fund at the foundation.

That fund, which represents Atmore and surrounding areas, will be led by an advisory committee of residents who will make recommendations about how charitable dollars are spent to greater affect the community into perpetuity.

Photo by Michael Dumas Image Arts