The Chester Pitts Foundation – Fine Arts, Culture and Smiles
Believe it or not, even here in Houston, there are things more important than football. A man who knows that firsthand is original Houston Texan CHESTER PITTS, just half of the brains and brawn behind The Chester Pitts Charitable Foundation (CPCF).
The mission behind the nonprofit is to evoke artistic interest in children through programs designed to inspire natural creativity, arouse enthusiasm for knowledge and energize the spirit of our youth. “The CPCF is designed to be a conduit, or a bridge, for those who don’t have access to the wonderful world of fine arts and culture. A lot of folks that have had the exposure understand the value, but take it for granted that the kids today that go to public schools – every day those programs are being cut and those kids won’t have access to [the arts]. It’s something a lot of us take for granted because it’s the norm,” co-founder Chester Pitts says of the organization. While Chester may think his tall, slender, drop-dead gorgeous wife is just his backup dancer in all this, truth be told, she runs the show. Something he finally admitted to. And what a show it is to run, as many know, starting and keeping a nonprofit moving is not an easy task, but LaToya Pitts does it with grace, dignity and humility, while balancing everything else in her life, including being a mother.
LaToya says having fine arts and culture in your life helps make you a well-rounded individual. “There are studies that show that kids who have the arts in their programs actually score higher on test scores, they do better in school, make better grades, it’s just overall something positive,” she says. All joking aside, Chester graciously admits it’s his wife that keeps their boat afloat. “We are a team – the Pitts Family – she’s the brains and the good looks, I’m just the guy that happens to know the good people who come out to our events and collects the dough,” he jokes while giving his wife a fist bump. It’s that kind of love, excitement and playfulness that is not only the basis and foundation of CPCF, but their marriage and family as well.
Starting with one small event back in 2008 while Chester still played with the Houston Texans, it wasn’t until 2011 the couple took their philanthropic work to the next level, hosting events throughout the year. Each year the foundation selects a high school or middle school and takes them out for their first symphonic experience at the Houston Symphony. “We dress the girls and boys up and buy them formal outfits and bring them to the symphony for a concert, and do a meet-and-greet afterwards,” LaToya says. This year’s experience will be the Sinatra show, which has been raved about in The New York Times. If you know how the Pitts duo rolls, you know it’s bound to be a good time with a lot of laughs. “It’s not just about art or dance or whatever it may be – it’s about what it takes to be good at or be successful at something. Now we’re talking about focusing and concentrating, about diligence – all of those factors line up to make people better human beings. We want to make sure we can capitalize on it with every kid, that we can make them a little bit better, even if it’s just 1%, they’re still better off than they were and that’s our ultimate goal,” Chester says.
This article originally ran in the print issue of LOCAL Houston Magazine. To see the original online version, click here.