Straker Foundation accepting grant applications to benefit local community


By Staff Report

A local foundation that supports area projects and programs has opened its yearly grant application.

Beginning on Monday, February 1, the J.W. & M.H. Straker Charitable Foundation will start accepting innovative and community-focused proposals for the 2021 funding year.

Started in 1994 by William and Mary Straker, the foundation funds the kind of projects and programs that benefit the community.

Recently, the foundation has helped financially support upgrades at Abbot Senior Living and the creation of a new Health and Wellness Complex at Muskingum University.

When the Coronavirus struck early last year, the foundation helped provide assistance to organizations that were especially hit hard.

Both the Bethel Community Center and the Zanesville Civic League Community Center received help which allowed their organizations to continue assisting area children while schools were closed.

The foundation has also helped finance the construction of cabins and a hiking trail at the Wilds, a Habitat for Humanity home, Forever Dads, the Zanesville Museum of Art and many others.

The Straker Foundation funds projects that support the arts, sciences and education; that have a positive impact on the lives of children; and that lead to civic development and strengthened community life in the City of Zanesville and Muskingum County.

Priority is given to well-planned applications that present innovative proposals and efficient use of desired funds while also collaborating with other organizations to share resources.

Pam Krist, Program Officer for the Foundation, said that non-profit, educational and governmental organizations are all eligible to apply for funding.

Historically the foundation, under the previous direction of its co-founder William Straker, had been very humblingly quiet about its donations and assistance, Krist added.

“It’s not uncommon to hear about something we once funded or supported and I’ll be like ‘I didn’t even know we funded that,'” said Krist. “We don’t want it to be so quiet that organizations that need the money don’t think to file an application.”

As previously written by Y-City News, William Straker was a petroleum engineer who went on to have a lengthy career in the oil industry.

As his professional success grew, he resourcefully used his assets to ensure that Mary and he could reinvest in the community where they built their careers and family.

According to many, the Strakers were not interested in the praise or public acknowledgment of their projects, with many going unrecognized still to this day.

The foundation, which is now run by the Straker’s oldest daughter Susan (Straker) Holdren, works to fulfill the legacy and commitment to the community that her parents valued so heavily.

Krist explained that Mary Straker was an avid reader and had a love for children, which in part supports the foundation’s 5-year sponsorship of the Muskingum County Literacy Council.

“She would love the fact that the Literacy Council is using Straker Foundation Funds to get books into the hands of children in the county,” said Krist. “That would make her very very happy.”

This year, unlike previous years, applications must be filed online at the foundation’s website.

All applicants must have their entry submitted by March 15, but Krist encouraged organizations to file earlier if possible.

For a complete list of criteria to apply for priority consideration, the requirements for applying and the application, visit the Straker Foundation website at:

For guidance on determining the amount of the request and in completing the application, applicants are encouraged to contact Krist by email at or by phone at (740) 297-7007.

A site visit may also help enhance an applicant’s application for funding, contact the Foundation for additional information and how a trip may be safely organized while adhering to COVID-19 health safety guidelines.