Matthews-Fayne Foundation is a nonprofit group that supports youth education initiatives. The foundation is organized exclusively for educational purposes and provides grants, scholarships, and educational resources and services to youth. Specifically, Matthews-Fayne focuses on supporting students traumatized by adverse childhood experiences, promoting access and retention in higher education for minority, underprivileged, and at-risk students, and building partnerships between corporations and educational institutions.
Dr. M. L. Matthews serves as the foundation’s executive director. Matthews used the names of his paternal and maternal grandparents to illustrate the power of education. His paternal grandfather, John Albert Matthews, was a US Army veteran, sharecropper and construction worker who used his 6th grade education to support his wife, Velma Mae (Dowell) Matthews, who had an 8th grade education, and his 9 children. Velma Matthews sharecropped along with her husband, picking cotton with her children as they picked alongside her and she also performed housekeeping and maid services for neighboring whites. She continued to support herself and her children as a single mother after the untimely death of John Matthews June 19, 1970. He was only 51. She died September 5, 2013.
His maternal grandfather, William Henry Fayne (January 26, 1930 – May 26, 2019), also a US Army veteran, used his 8th grade education to support his wife, Archie Lene (Parker) Fayne, who had a 9th grade education, and his 11 children, as a sharecropper turned landowner, farmer, landscaper, and entrepreneur. Fayne was actually able to purchase the land that his paternal grandfather once owned as a slave owner.
Matthews credits much of his success to the work ethic he developed by learning from his parents and grandparents. He credits The Scripps Howard Foundation for inspiring his love for philanthropy through his association with its City-Wide High School Newspaper Program, Teen Appeal. Matthews used scholarship funds earned from the foundation’s outreach program to pay his undergraduate tuition. He has since dedicated his time, energy, and foundation to helping students who might not otherwise get help from other traditional outlets.
The John Matthews and William Fayne family lineages have produced college graduates, doctors, law practitioners, educators, other professionals and law abiding citizens. Matthews-Fayne is dedicated to promoting equity in education as well as socio-economic and socio-emotional progress via education through its programming.