Care to Learn Founder Doug Pitt was honored as the 2010 Humanitarian today for his creation of a program to provide students with basic food, health and hygiene needs that began in Springfield and has now expanded to Bolivar, Ozark, Nixa and Republic.
More than 130 people honored Pitt at today’s luncheon for Care to Learn’s response in fulfilling more than 36,300 cases of need since he created it in 2008 with start-up support from Springfield businessman Jim D. Morris and the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.
“A community needs to take care of its own,” Pitt said in his remarks after accepting the award from Jewell Thompson Schweitzer, a longtime Community Foundation of the Ozarks supporter who established the Humanitarian award. “We should be very proud of the collaborative spirit that goes on every day in our community.”
The Humanitarian honor includes a $3,000 cash award, which Pitt said he will divide evenly among the five Care to Learn chapters.
The 2010 award marks the 21st year of honoring humanitarians in the Ozarks. Mrs. Schweitzer established the award to pay tribute to individuals who place service to others as the primary motivating force in their lives. The 2009 award was presented to Oregon County ranchers and brothers Roger D. “Dusty” Shaw, Jr., a CFO board member, and William Shaw, for their philanthropic work in south-central Missouri.
Pitt was nominated for the award by friend and businessman Bobby Allison, Drury University President Todd Parnell, and SRC Holdings Corp. President Jack Stack.
Parnell described Pitt, the co-owner of ServiceWorld Computer Center in Springfield, as someone with “the heart of a philanthropist” who also has the good business sense to run an effective program. Allison chided Pitt about his golf game, saying he doesn’t have time to improve it because he’s busy working on the plight of those less fortunate in both the Ozarks and around the world.
In addition to his work on Care to Learn, Pitt was honored for his role as a goodwill ambassador to Tanzania and his support for construction of wells for clean drinking water in Africa as well as his role as co-chair of the Homelessness Task Force in Springfield.
CFO President Brian Fogle concluded the luncheon by thanking all the people who have supported Care to Learn since its founding.
“Doug Pitt saw children without shoes, without coats and even without shampoo, and said ‘Yes, I can do something about this’,” Fogle said. “Others of you offer support with your time, talent, and resources in supporting CFO, and other non-profits in our community.
“We have 100 reasons not to get involved, or let someone else do it,” he said. “But thank God you here in this room have hearts that refuse to let you look at a first-grader without a coat on a sub-zero day, and tell him or her, ‘no’.”