By Jacob Longan
Bill Major discusses Zarrow Foundation projects with Judy Zarrow Kishner.
The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation was established by Anne and Henry Zarrow — a truly philanthropic couple, though they never embraced that term. They simply saw themselves as people who were blessed with the opportunity to help others.
Judy Zarrow Kishner has abundant memories of her parents’ benevolence. When Kishner was 10, she and her mother drove past a woman underdressed for the October chill. They stopped to investigate and learned the woman’s car had faulty brakes. She was walking the 70 blocks — seven miles — to visit her daughter in the hospital. Anne Zarrow gave the woman a coat and a ride to the hospital. Then she called Henry, who arranged to get the woman’s brakes fixed and paid for a pantry full of groceries.
Henry Zarrow helped establish the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, which is on land donated by Zarrow family members. He and fellow Tulsa businessman Dave Hentschel maintained an annual tradition of purchasing and donating cold weather clothing for the Day Center on the birthday they shared, February 12. Like clockwork, Henry would call Hentschel on their birthday to make their annual run to the local Wal-Mart where the two men would fill up Hentschel’s car with undergarments, socks, gloves, hats and scarves.
“When you grow up and see them doing things like that over and over again, you think, ‘That’s just what we do,’” Kishner says. “When you see a need, you help.”
Sooner Pipe and Iron was established in 1937.
Those random acts of kindness Kishner saw growing up were evidence of the underlying qualities of what later became the Zarrow Family Foundations. The family had increasing opportunities to help others as their businesses grew. In 1937, Henry married Anne and established Sooner Pipe and Iron. The business specialized in buying used oil pipelines, cleaning them up and reselling them. The company later became Sooner Pipe and Supply Corporation and has grown into one of the world’s largest oil country tubular goods distributors and logistics service providers for the oil and gas industry.
In the 1980s, the broader Zarrow family established three foundations. The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation supports causes in Tulsa as well as throughout Oklahoma and in Israel. Areas of emphasis include Jewish causes and social services benefiting the indigent, the disenfranchised and the homeless. It grew dramatically after the deaths of Anne in 2000 and Henry in 2014, with much of their estate going into the endowment.
The Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation was established by Henry’s younger brother, Jack Zarrow, and his sister-in-law, Maxine Zarrow. It provides funding primarily to organizations in the Tulsa area and in Israel. It funds nonprofits focused on children’s issues, the arts and culture, advocacy and support for the mentally ill, Jewish causes, learning differences at all ages, and higher education.
The Zarrow Families Foundation was originally Sooner Pipe’s foundation, changing its name when the company was sold. It is smaller than the other two foundations, making grants for Jewish causes and charities’ fundraising events.
None of the foundations have specific ties to OSU, but they have found ways to partner with the university on projects that align with their interests. For example, the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation has given more than $50,000 over the past three years to support a special education scholarship program at OSU-Tulsa.
The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation has also increased its support of OSU. In fact, it has donated more than $2 million, with the majority designated for scholarships to students attending OSU-Tulsa, OSU-Stillwater and the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa along with a major gift for the Tandy Medical Academic Building on the Center for Health Sciences campus. In recognition of the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation’s generosity to OSU-CHS, the signature lecture hall located within the Tandy Medical Academic Building will be named the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation Lecture Hall in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Zarrow.
“I was fortunate to know the Zarrows, who were brilliant and incredibly generous,” says Howard Barnett, president of OSU-Tulsa. “They did so much to help others while they were alive, and their foundations let them continue to do good since their passing. As a Tulsan, an Oklahoman and a representative of OSU, I am so grateful to all members of the Zarrow family for everything they have done to make our community a better place.”
Kishner is president of the board of the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation and a trustee for the Zarrow Families Foundation.
“It would be lovely to be able to pick everybody up off the street and provide a place for them, but you need to work with an organization that has a program, like OSU, that is effective and try to grow that program,” Kishner says. “When it comes to health and mental health, Oklahoma has a lot of bad outcomes. How do you do something to transform that? OSU is a very important piece of our medical education in this state, so you support them.”
Kayse Shrum, D.O., is president of the OSU Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa. She says the rippling impact of the Zarrows can be felt throughout the OSU-CHS campus.
“The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation was one of the major supporters of our new, state-of-the-art A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Medical Academic Building,” Shrum says. “In addition to supporting capital projects at OSU-CHS, it also funds our early admission scholarships to help us recruit talented medical students from rural Oklahoma who are interested in practicing primary care medicine in rural Oklahoma. As a university, we want to thank Judy, her parents, and her board for their commitment to improving the health of Oklahomans.”
Bill Major is executive director of the three Zarrow Foundations after previously establishing a relationship with the Zarrow family through his work as CEO of LIFE Senior Services and helping to start the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.
“If there are ways to improve systems that can increase effective outcomes, we’re looking to invest in them,” Major says. “The Center for Family Resilience at OSU-Tulsa, for example, looks for best practice models for self-sufficiency for families. That’s why we are supportive of that effort. We are working on ways to try to increase systems that help people, not just hand out $100 here and there.”
Major adds, “Scholarships are a key thing the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation does. Probably between 75 and 85 students per year are receiving scholarships to OSU, the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa, Northeastern State, Langston, Tulsa Community College and Rogers State.”
The OSU Foundation’s Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations is available to assist organizations interested in partnering with OSU to support philanthropic causes.
For more information, contact Stephen Mason at smason@OSUgiving.com or 405-385-0717.
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Published by STATE Magazine Editor Elizabeth Keys, Winter 2016, Volume 12, Number 2
Uploaded on December 1, 2016