Max Beren emigrated from Latvia to the United States and during his lifetime found success in Parkersburg, West Virginia. In his will, he bequeathed funds to establish the Max Beren Prize Fund. Through this gift, Mr. Beren wanted to express his appreciation to the community. S. O. Beren, the son of Max Beren, established the S. O. Beren Prize Fund at the Foundation in the early 1970s. In commenting on his reason for establishing the prize fund, Mr. Beren wrote, "I grew up in Parkersburg, was well educated in Parkersburg public schools, and I felt I owed something back." Mr. and Mrs. Allen A. Staub created the Staub Prize Fund in 1972 at the Foundation. Max Beren was Mr. Staub's father-in-law.
Today, the three funds have been merged to provide an annual prize to an outstanding senior graduating from a Parkersburg high school, with the prize being rotated every third year among Parkersburg High School, Parkersburg South High School, and Parkersburg Catholic High School.