Chuck and Yvonne Pigott support Scouting with outsized achievements and contributions.
Charles M. “Chuck” Pigott spent his working career as CEO of PACCAR Inc., helping bring goods to families and businesses in the form of Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks. As an Eagle Scout, former BSA National President, and longtime supporter of Scouting, Chuck’s impact is more visible, perhaps most notably at Camp Pigott, a facility of the Chief Seattle Council.
Camp Pigott, formerly known as Camp Omache, had been closed for a dozen years when Pigott played a pivotal role in rebuilding and reopening the dilapidated 30-year-old camp in 2003. In addition to a significant gift from the Pigott family, Chuck raised additional funds by appealing to his many contacts in the local business community.
With experience as a member of the boards of directors for organizations including Boeing and The Seattle Times, Chuck was able to recruit acquaintances and business colleagues for help raising $3 million to rebuild the camp. When the fundraising and reconstruction were through, the camp sported a new main building with a kitchen and cafeteria, as well as boat storage, a trading post, and an infirmary.
The buildings received new restrooms, and campers got tent platforms, while a ropes course and climbing tower were added for the adventure-minded. Today, the 150-acre camp hosts summer camps with canoeing, shooting sports, and additional activities, as well as leader training, Order of the Arrow gatherings, and other events.
In 2011, Chuck and Yvonne (in photo at right) also made a significant gift to the BSA to develop the Charles Pigott Base Camp at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve in West Virginia. As a flagship camping facility, the Charles Pigott Base Camp will be an environmentally friendly, programmatically diverse installation whose example will encourage local Boy Scout councils across the country to continue to reach for camping excellence.
With a capacity to serve more than 8,000 Scouts at a time, the Charles Pigott Base Camp will provide young people a gateway to adventure, giving Scouts walking-distance access to such high-adventure activities as zip-lining, canopy-touring, and cable-wakeboarding. Through the vision of their gift, these high-adventure programs will be made available to youth around the country and the world, helping young people achieve their full potential.
In some ways, Chuck was just continuing the Pigott family’s generosity, which has long focused on improving access to education and otherwise improving the experience of America’s youth. Through private philanthropic foundations and donations from PACCAR, the company Pigott’s grandfather founded in 1905, the family also has been a significant benefactor to Seattle University, as evidenced by structures including the William Pigott Building—named after his grandfather—PACCAR Atrium, and Pigott Auditorium.
Chuck was born and raised in Seattle, where he graduated from Lakeside High School. He went on to Stanford University, where his studies were interrupted to join the U.S. Navy, serving four years as a plane commander. Following his Navy service, he graduated from Stanford earning a Bachelor of Science in engineering. He then joined Kenworth, working first as an engineer in the truck factory, and in 1965 he became president of PACCAR.
Chuck retired from PACCAR in 1997 after a 41-year career that included 30-plus years as CEO. Today he is 83 and keeps a low profile—as low as he can given the family’s outsized achievements and contributions. But wherever Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks roll, they carry his legacy and love of Scouting.
WHY WE GIVE
In addition to being significant financial supporters of Scouting, Chuck and his wife, Yvonne, have given generously of their time to help America’s youth. He has served in leadership positions with the Chief Seattle Council, including stints as president. In 1986, he was elected National President of the Boy Scouts of America.
Chuck’s personal involvement with Scouting goes even farther back. In 1944, he earned the rank of Eagle with Troop 312. As an adult he received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, which among other requirements calls for distinguished service to his profession and community for 25 years after receiving his Eagle.
The personal dedication these awards require is even more impressive considering his other activities. In addition to leading a multinational manufacturing corporation, he has also contributed his time to numerous other organizations that serve the public good, including campaign chairman of the local chapter of United Way and his high school and college alma maters.
The Pigotts have found time and funds to support Scouting because they appreciate what the organization can do for the country and its youth. At the time of the 2003 reopening of Camp Pigott, Chuck praised the renovation as an excellent job, but downplayed his own role in it in favor of lauding Scouting. “I think the Boy Scouts are one of the most important sources of good values this country has,” he said.