Sixteen years ago, a group of concerned citizens formed a task force to evaluate the needs of the homeless in Tulsa. After several weeks of study, Tulsa Metropolitan Ministry was approached to be the supporting agency for the newly planned Day Center for the Homeless. TMM indicated that the organization would support the idea, but funding must be secured. The facts were presented to Mr. Zarrow, who immediately committed himself to raising money for the new program. Without his commitment, the Day Center might still be just a great idea.
For many years, Mr. Zarrow chaired the Day Center’s annual campaign, fundraising approximately $900,000 each year to keep their doors open. Setting goals and reaching them has always been his objective. However, his resolution has been to give the homeless of Tulsa the very best services possible. Mr. Zarrow never seems to see roadblocks to progress. He proceeds with absolute resolution. His positive attitude and determination are an inspiration to all who know and work with him. He seems to shun recognition and is quick to pass praise on to others who have been involved. At age 86, he continues to work quietly and modestly for many programs.
Mr. Zarrow’s good works reach across racial and religious boundaries. He has been given numerous recognitions and awards from as early as 1979 to the present for brotherhood, leadership, humanitarianism, outstanding support of services, as well as two honorary doctorates.
Mr. Zarrow, along with his sister-in-law Maxine Zarrow, stepped forward—like he has so many times in the history of the Day Center, and donated a square block of land just southwest of the existing shelter upon discovering that the current facility was deteriorating, overcrowded, and offered little respite and limited services to the needy. Under the guiding hand of Mr. Zarrow, and with the generous support of Tulsa’s philanthropists, a new facility designed to meet the specific needs of the guests, opened on January 9, 1995.
With an annual budget now exceeding $1,000,000, Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless continues to rely upon the generosity of individuals, foundations and corporations solicited by Mr. Zarrow. In addition, the Day Center is supported by the Tulsa Area United Way and limited public funds. Mr. Zarrow recently completed a quiet endowment campaign raising $2,500,000 from Tulsa philanthropists to secure the future of our organization.
In June 2001, the Board of Directors hosted a reception to honor Mr. Henry for his contribution to the Day Center. More than 200 invitations were issued. Individuals were invited to write a personal note to Mr. Zarrow. These notes were filled with praise and gratitude for his gentle manner, commitment, and humble attitude toward giving.