Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation - Chapman Legacy Society
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Gifts Established:

  • Anne and Henry Zarrow Education Endowment for Gilcrease Museum | Est. 2017
  • Zarrow Education Fund for Gilcrease Museum | Est. 2017
  • Steadman and Peggy Upham Endowment for Community Service and Outreach | Est. 2016
  • Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation Annual Scholarship Program | Est. 2011
  • Zarrow Family Scholarship Fund | Est. 1981
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Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation

Henry Zarrow was imbued with a strong work ethic and business savvy at a young age, and his later career success led to an extraordinary commitment to philanthropy that was shared by his wife, Anne, and others in the Zarrow family. Their generosity has particularly helped the homeless, the mentally ill, schoolchildren and college students.

Anne and Henry established the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation to channel their support to worthy organizations and causes. Henry’s brother, Jack, and his wife, Maxine, founded the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Family Foundation, and the two families together established the Zarrow Families Foundation.

The Zarrows’ legacy in Tulsa goes back to the city’s early days. Sam and Rose Zarrow, both Russian immigrants, moved to Tulsa around 1916. He had arrived in the country about six years earlier, a penniless 16-year-old boy who had smuggled his way out of Russia disguised as a girl. When he arrived in the U.S., immigration officials asked him his birthday. He asked what date America got its independence, and July 4 became his birthday.

Within a few years, Sam was able to bring over Rose, his childhood sweetheart. The couple settled in Milwaukee, but they soon came to Tulsa to establish themselves in the grocery business. They owned a store on Greenwood Avenue – a vibrant stretch of north Tulsa that had become known as “Black Wall Street.”

The couple had a daughter, Dorothy; and two sons, Henry and Jack. Growing up in a household where extras were scarce, the two boys understood what it was like to struggle. They matured into men of compassion and generosity who – along with their wives and children – would go on to do immeasurable good for others.

The older son, Henry, started helping in the grocery at age six. At 13, he opened his own store in Tulsa’s Crystal City shopping center. He left early each morning to go to the farmers’ market, where he would buy the day’s produce for his parents’ store and his own. He manned his first shift until school started at 8 a.m., then returned in the afternoon and kept his shop open until dusk. At one point, short on funds, he tracked down a banker at the old Tulsa Hotel and asked for a $300 loan. The banker rebuffed the request, but another nearby patron urged him to support the boy’s ambition and give him the loan. Henry’s advocate turned out to be oil magnate J. Paul Getty.

Urged by his parents to quit the hardscrabble grocery business, Henry went to work for his Uncle Abe, who dealt in used pipe. By 1937, at age 22, Henry was starting Sooner Pipe & Iron, later Sooner Pipe & Supply. His father joined him five years later, followed by his brother, Jack, who had graduated from the University of Texas with a petroleum engineering degree. Henry became president of the family venture, and Jack was named executive vice president.

Their hard work was rewarded, as Sooner expanded, gained key distributorship contracts and added big-name customers like Phillips, Skelly and Shell. Sooner acquired other companies: Big Heart Pipeline and its subsidiaries, Tri-States, Oil-Trading, Crude Oil, Bow and Tomahawk. In the 1960s, the Zarrows launched the international side of the business, expanding their TK Valve and Manufacturing into Canada, Scotland, Singapore and Nigeria. Jack served as president of that company.

After the companies were sold in the late 1990s, Henry and Jack retired from business but remained active in community life. Alongside their husbands, Anne and Maxine remained active in the community in ways large and small – whether identifying a program in need of help, donating millions to make a nonprofit project a reality, or simply working as a volunteer driver or picking up clothing for the homeless.

The list of Zarrow beneficiaries is practically a community human-services directory: the Alzheimer’s Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the Day Center for the Homeless, Family and Children’s Services, Gilcrease Museum, the Jewish Federation of Tulsa, the Mental Health Association of Tulsa, the National Conference for Community and Justice, Neighbor for Neighbor, Tulsa Public Schools, The United Way – the list goes on and on.

Each of the Zarrows has received honors through the years, bestowed by the Tulsa Hall of Fame, the Harwelden Awards, the Tulsa City-County Library, the Oklahoma Heritage Association and many others. In 2010, Gilcrease Museum honored Maxine and Jack Zarrow with the Bluestem Award, recognizing more than four decades of support and service to the museum.

As part of their legacy of giving, the Zarrows have made tremendous contributions to The University of Tulsa, both financial and personal. Henry Zarrow served as a member of the TU Board of Trustees from 1980 to 1986 and was later named a Trustee Emeritus. In 1993, he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the university; and in 2000, he was inducted into the Collins College of Business Hall of Fame as an Outstanding Entrepreneur. Jack Zarrow also served as a member of the TU Board of Trustees from 1990 to 1996 and was named to the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences Hall of Fame in 1997.

TU’s Henry Zarrow Center for Art and Education in downtown Tulsa and the Anne and Henry Zarrow Library in the Helmerich Center for American Research (adjacent to Gilcrease Museum), as well as the Maxine and Jack Zarrow Reading Room in the Helmerich Center for American Research proudly bear the names of these leading Tulsa philanthropists.

With the passing of Anne in 2000, of Jack in 2012, of Henry in 2014, and of Maxine in 2021, new generations of the family have taken up the mantle of their parents and are continuing to work as active champions of the Tulsa community.

Anne and Henry’s daughter, Judy Kishner (BA ’74, JD ’77), and Maxine and Jack’s daughter, Gail Richards, have been especially engaged in sustaining the good work of their parents, including working together on a project to help combat homelessness in the Tulsa community.

Judy Zarrow Kishner presides over the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation and serves as a Trustee for the Zarrow Families Foundation. She served on The University of Tulsa Board of Trustees from 1997-2000, and she continues to see her alma mater as a partner standing with her and her family to help lift up Tulsa. She was named a TU Distinguished Alumna in 2013, one of the university’s highest honors.

The Zarrows and their foundations have supported a wide array of TU programs and initiatives for many years through gifts to athletics, Gilcrease Museum, McFarlin Library, the TU Annual Fund, and student scholarships. One important source of student support is the Zarrow Family Scholarship Fund, established in 1981 by Henry and Jack Zarrow through their successful enterprise, Sooner Pipe & Supply Corporation.

In addition, the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation Annual Scholarship Program helps several TU students each year, but the program is not unique to TU; it assists students at a number of Oklahoma colleges and universities. TU has been privileged to host an annual luncheon for Zarrow Scholars from throughout the area.

In 2016, Judy Kishner and the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation established the Steadman and Peggy Upham Endowment for Community Service and Outreach. This gift paid tribute to Dr. Upham on the occasion of his retirement from the TU presidency after 12 years of service, during which he established the True Blue Neighbors Program, a comprehensive and successful community service volunteer program for students, faculty and staff. The namesake endowment supports this vital effort.

Kishner and the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation also funded endowments to provide perpetual support for Gilcrease Museum as part of The Campaign for Gilcrease. In 2017, they established the Anne and Henry Zarrow Education Endowment and the Zarrow Education Fund to help cover the costs of educational programming at the world-renowned museum, including staffing and programs for low-income children. The foundation also provided bridge funding to support Gilcrease Museum operations during the transition from the old museum building to the newly constructed building.

With trademark humility, the Zarrows generally avoid public recognition. As their beneficiaries know, their good works flow from righteous hearts and serve the good of all. Even so, The University of Tulsa holds up this remarkable family as an example of the highest service and thanks the Zarrow Families Foundations for their generosity to the university and its students. TU is honored to have the Zarrow name associated with it as a friend and partner in making Tulsa a better place to live.