YMCA of Bristol Names Matthews Chief Executive Officer

Sep 7, 2018 | YMCA of Bristol

Bristol, Tenn. — Following a nationwide search process, Richard “Rick” Matthews has been named as the new chief executive officer (CEO) of the YMCA of Bristol. Matthews succeeds Chris Ayers, who will retire as CEO of the organization at the end of September.

A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with nearly two decades of Y-related experience, Matthews will guide the organization’s long-range plan of transitioning to a higher level of membership service, while overseeing program development, staff training and ongoing capital improvements.

“Rick brings a diverse skillset and extensive leadership experience to the YMCA of Bristol, along with a passion for service and commitment to the community,” says Dwight Owens, chief volunteer officer for the Bristol Y. “He is full of enthusiasm and has a proven track record of success throughout his 19 years of service with the Y.”

Matthews comes to Bristol after serving for 13 years as district vice president for the YMCA of South Hampton Roads in Chesapeake, Virginia. In this position, he had oversight of three family centers, a regional day camp, a budget of more than $10 million, and 10,000 membership units totaling 26,000 individuals.

In 2017, while also serving as executive director of the Suffolk Family YMCA in Suffolk, Virginia, Matthews managed a $3.2 million renovation of the organization’s Family Center. Under Matthews’ leadership, the Suffolk Family YMCA’s budget increased from $2.4 million to $4.4 million. He was also responsible for raising $1.25 million in new program grants and $1 million in new capital donations, all while overseeing an annual campaign of $400,000 throughout his district.

“I am truly honored and blessed to be selected as the next CEO of the YMCA of Bristol,” Matthews says. “I pledge to work tirelessly to uphold and build upon the great legacies and traditions the Bristol Y has established. The future is bright, and I look forward to working with the amazing group of Y staff members, board of directors, community partners, local government leaders and others who are dedicated to positively impacting lives in the Bristol community for many, many years to come.”

Matthews’ additional experience with the Y includes serving as center executive director for a number of Y locations, including the Central Florida YMCA in Orlando, the YMCA of Greater St. Louis, and the YMCA of Greater Mobile.

“After 16 years as CEO of the YMCA of Bristol and 35 years as a Y professional, I am excited to pass the torch onto Rick,” Ayers says. “He will be a great asset to our YMCA, and will continue the 134-year tradition of leading our Y in meeting the ever-changing needs of our community. I have no doubt that Rick’s skills and experience will move our Y to even greater heights.”

Matthews earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business management from the University of Maryland in College Park.

About the YMCA of Bristol

The YMCA of Bristol is a leading nonprofit organization committed to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. The YMCA’s mission is to strengthen the community by improving the quality of life and inspiring individuals and families to develop their fullest potential in spirit, mind and body.

For more information about the YMCA of Bristol, contact (423) 968-3133, or visit

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