Matt Matthews Board Briefing
Monday, February 28, 2022
A passion for improving community health is what led Matt Matthews to serve on the board of The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital between 2015-2020. He stepped down in 2021 because of term limits but was eager to rejoin this year to continue this work.
During his initial time on the board, Matt was a member of several committees including two that review grant applications. While many of these grant submissions are for research, there are a significant number that seek assistance for organizations and programs that help underserved areas of the St. Louis community. Matt now serves on both of these committees along with the finance committee.
“These are areas that are economically challenged and also challenged by lack of access to health care services,” Matt says. “The Foundation does critical work in the community. It impacts key constituents who are desperately in need of health care and support. What the Foundation does and what the hospital does in these areas is a very compelling mission.
“To have been part of this early work, certainly had an impact on me and made me realize how much of a difference a dedicated and focused philanthropic organization can make. That’s why I wanted to come back. It’s a very great opportunity and I’m proud to be part of it.”
His board service is a continuation of his advocacy on behalf of those in need. For example, when he was CEO of Crown Vision Center, the company he founded in 1990, Crown started a program offering free eye care services to disadvantaged children in low-income areas of St. Louis. Vision exams were conducted at its stores and certain public schools, and glasses were provided at no charge if needed.
From this early work, Matt and his daughter Jennifer “JJ” Scarbrough, and others established a nonprofit called Kids Vision for Life St. Louis (KVFL), which delivers free eyecare services to kids in schools in high-poverty school districts around the St. Louis Region. KVFL is now responsible for screening over 45,000 school kids each year in 165 schools.
After Crown Vision was sold in 2017, Matt became the CEO of Acuity Eyecare Group, now known as AEG Vision that operated 65 vision center locations in six states. He left AEG in 2019 and re-entered the eyecare industry in 2021 as co-founder and chief operating officer of Veritas Eyecare, which has 15 community eye care centers in Buffalo and Rochester, New York.