The David Belk Cannon Foundation in partnership with the Community Foundation of Gaston County

The David Belk Cannon Foundation in partnership with the Community Foundation of Gaston County

The late David Belk Cannon established this scholarship program to help students attend Gaston College and to continue their study at a four-year institution. It was originally begun as a memorial to his two children, David Belk Cannon, Jr. and Rebecca Belk Cannon who both died tragically in a fire in 1964. The scholarship now also serves as a memorial to Mr. Cannon who died in 1998.

Mr. Cannon was an only child with distinguished North Carolina roots. The great-grandson of textile pioneer David Cannon and the grandson of Dr. John Belk, one of founders of the highly successful retailer, Belk stores, the young David Belk Cannon had big shoes to fill. He could have chosen a life of leisure with his inherited wealth, but that was not his character. His parents instilled the importance of hard work, commitment, religious faith and generosity in him and he carried those traits with him throughout life.

Mr. Cannon came to Gaston County from Raleigh, NC to learn the family business the guidance of the Matthews family and began his work at Matthews-Belk in 1961. He eventually bought a house in Gastonia and made Gaston County his home.

Sometimes with great fortune there also comes great sorrow, and Mr. Cannon certainly experienced his share of that during his lifetime. In 1964 his wife and two young children were killed in a house fire. Mr. Cannon’s strong Christian faith helped him to overcome the tragedy, as did his generosity. In October 1964 he established the David Cannon Scholarship at the then fledgling Gaston College. His extreme generosity during such a time of personal crisis and loss laid the foundation for dreams to come true for hundreds of Gaston County residents.

After his passing, Mr. Cannon’s estate created the David Belk Cannon Foundation which continues to support the causes dear to him. We are privileged today to again honor his legacy of generosity, selflessness and caring by recognizing the accomplishments of our students.


Since its inception, the David Belk Cannon Family Scholarship has awarded well over one-quarter of a million dollars in financial assistance and has made possible a Gaston College education for more than 260 students.