Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation: Tulsa Grants

OVERVIEW: The Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation gives most of its support to the Tulsa area and focuses giving on mental health and children’s issues. Recent local grants have been generally between $3,000 and $100,000, and the foundation typically meets to decide upon grants four times per year. At the end of a recent year, the foundation reported over $45 million in assets and over $3 million in total giving that year.

FUNDING AREAS: Children's issues, arts and culture, advocacy and support for the mentally ill, Jewish causes, learning differences at all ages, and higher education

IP TAKE: Mental health is the biggest issue with this foundation because it hits close to home. The founders’ daughter suffers from mental illness and now lives in a community residence program. The Zarrows established a mental health symposium to educate the public about the issues that affect the mentally ill and their families. All mental health organizations around Tulsa should have this foundation on their radars.

PROFILE: If you haven’t noticed, Zarrow is a good name to know in the Tulsa area these days. There are three Zarrow foundations and each of them keeps an eye on the Tulsa nonprofit scene. But our focus here is on the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation, which funds programs almost exclusively dedicated to Tulsa and Israel.

Jack Zarrow is a Tulsa native, and joined his father and brother at Sooner Pipe & Supply Corporation after earning a degree in petroleum engineering. During his lifetime, Jack served as president of various Zarrow family enterprises, including TK Valve, Prime Actuator, Bigheart Pipe Line Corporation, and Zarrow Holding Company. His wife, Maxine, has served on many boards related to education, mental health, children, and culture. Maxine dedicated her life to supporting people with mental illness, including the Zarrow’s own daughter. Local libraries, schools, and homeless centers have seen a great deal of the couple’s philanthropic support over the years.

Today, the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Foundation supports children's issues, arts and culture, advocacy and support for the mentally ill, Jewish causes, learning differences at all ages, and higher education in the Tulsa area. The foundation also supports Jewish-related causes in Israel. At the end of a recent year, the foundation reported over $45 million in assets and over $3 million in total giving that year. These figures have remained pretty steady over recent years.

Past local grants included $100,000 to Tulsa’s Domestic Violence Intervention Services, $30,000 to Town and Country School, $25,000 to the University of Tulsa, and $25,000 to Planned Parenthood of Eastern Oklahoma and Eastern Arkansas.

This foundation’s proposals annual due dates are April 15th, July 15th, and October 15th. The foundation typically meets on a quarterly basis to decide upon and award grants.

The Zarrow Mental Health Symposium celebrated its 20th year in 2014, focusing on “All Things Prevention” and sponsored by the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma. The Zarrows established the symposium to help educate people about mental illness at a time when it was far less understood, studied, and accepted as a reality.

Tulsa nonprofits can complete one of two different MJZ grant application forms: general operating support or capital campaign support within the Tulsa metropolitan area. To apply for specific program support, you’ll need to email Executive Director Bill Major for your specific grant application form. Read through the General Guidelines page for some tips on writing and submitting your grant request to MJZ.

If your nonprofit has several projects going on and you’re unsure which one to submit to the foundation for funding, email Executive Director Bill Major with your prospective proposals to get a better sense of which one the foundation will like the most. Bill can be reached directly at 918-295-8004 or via email at bmajor@zarrow.com.

“Creating our foundation was more or less an idea to perpetuate the charitable interest that we had—and that we wanted to instill in our children,” said Maxine Zarrow. “Someone once said to us, ‘Well, you don’t really need to create a foundation. You could always write a check.’ And our answer was ‘But if Jack and I are not here in the future, we won’t be able to write a check.’  We had meaningful and important interests we wanted to always support and to continue with the organizations and causes that were of vital interest to us."

Related: IP’s Profile of the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation

PEOPLE:

  • Bill Major, Executive Director of Foundations
  • Nancy Langley, Grants Manager

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