Charles Strobel

NASHVILLE, TN — A native Nashvillian and a revered member of the Catholic community, Charles Strobel has dedicated his life to offering hospitality and hope to the city’s homeless population. 

We invite you to join The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee as we honor Charles Strobel with the 25th annual Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award. Each year this award honors a person who, like the late Joe Kraft, demonstrates a commitment to community, home and hearth, and individuals in need.

The Kraft luncheon will be held Friday, November 9 at 11:30 a.m. at the Music City Center’s Davidson Ballroom in Nashville. Tickets are $80 per person, and tables of 10 can be reserved for $800. Reservations for the event can be made through October 31 online at The Community Foundation’s website ( or by calling 615-321-4939. Media is welcome.  

Strobel is founding director of Room in the Inn, which since 1986 has provided shelter for nearly 1,500 homeless individuals each winter through the combined effort of what are now nearly 200 Nashville-area congregations and more than 7,000 volunteers.

In 1995 the organization opened its downtown campus, which offers emergency services, transitional programs, and long-term solutions to help people rebuild their lives.

Established in 1993, the Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award recognizes community leaders who embody the strength of character and unwavering integrity of the late Joe Kraft. Past honorees include Amy Grant and Vince Gill, John Seigenthaler, Francis S. Guess, Clayton McWhorter, Aubrey Harwell, Jayme and McDonald Williams, Monroe J. Carell Jr., Pauline Gore, Martha Ingram, Karl Dean, Jim Haslam II, Steve and Cal Turner Jr., Phil Bredesen and Andrea Conte, Chet Atkins and Owen Bradley, Jack B. Turner, and Jerry B. Williams, among others. 

Joe Kraft, whose parents were Russian immigrants, was a Davidson County native and graduate of Vanderbilt University. Prior to receiving his degree, Kraft put his athletic scholarship on hold to enlist in the Army Air Corps after the attack on Pearl Harbor. During the war, Kraft flew 31 missions over Italy, Germany and Czechoslovakia as a navigator on a B-17 bomber. He graduated from Vanderbilt in 1948, and received a law degree from what is now Nashville School of Law in 1958. Kraft then founded one of Nashville’s largest certified public accounting firms, Kraft Bros., Esstman, Patton & Harrell. 

The Joe Kraft Humanitarian Award Fund continues the memory of Joe Kraft, who made Middle Tennessee a better place to live through his dedication to community, home and hearth, and individuals in need. The committee who chooses the recipient is particularly interested in nominations of community leaders who, like Joe, sometimes function behind the scenes. The person(s) named as the recipient of this annual award receives the opportunity to recommend that grants from this Fund be distributed to charities in which he or she believes.

The Community Foundation exists to promote and facilitate giving in the 40 counties of Middle Tennessee and beyond. It does this by accepting gifts of any size from anyone at any time and by empowering individuals, families, companies, nonprofits and communities to respond to needs and opportunities that matter. The Community Foundation works with people who have great hearts, whether or not they have great wealth, to craft solutions that reflect their intentions and goals. For more information, call 615-321-4939 or visit