Henry Zarrow honored for helping Tulsa Public Schools

Tuesday, March 25th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Henry Zarrow's one million dollar challenge to Tulsans is helping the Tulsa Public Schools get out of the red.

The district honored Zarrow Tuesday for his many contributions to education. News on 6 Anchor Scott Thompson says the Tulsa Public Schools Zarrow Fund thermometer hovers just under the million dollar. Henry Zarrow issued the challenge almost six months ago and the community responded. A big thank you for a big donation.

Chandler-Frates and Reitz was one of the first companies to step up to the Zarrow challenge. The company's inspiration Henry Zarrow himself. Jack Allen: "when Henry Zarrow and his foundation made the announcement that they were going to put up a million bucks we decided we better walk our talk too, so that’s why we did it."

Zarrow issued the challenge in November after Tulsa Public Schools was hit with millions in budget cuts. As a graduate of Tulsa Public Schools, Zarrow's daughter, Judy Kishner, said he felt like he had to help. "He really wanted to do something we'll get through this crisis and the financial things will change but for this year and next year and hopefully not a third year, we have to do something to make sure our kids are educated.”

Zarrow's call was heard throughout the city. All kinds of businesses from bread to burgers have pitched in. But not all donations have been big ones. 1,500 businesses and individuals have inched the Zarrow thermometer toward its goal. Zarrow fund manager Rachel Maze says a good chunk of the donations have been from individuals.

The effort's not only been a boost to TPS's bottom line, but also to morale at a time when most financial news is bad news. TPS Superintendent Dr David Sawyer: "One thing we can be confident about however as demonstrated by the Zarrow challenge -- TPS will enjoy unprecedented support and encouragement in the face of tough financial circumstances."

The Foundation for Tulsa Schools hosted its annual fundraiser Tuesday. It's named Henry Zarrow as the special guest. The foundation chose him even before he offered to match a million dollars in donations to the schools.