The M.S. Hershey Foundation

The leader of a successful law practice in Chicago, Robert Heist graduated from the Milton Hershey School in 1982. He is presently a director of the Hershey Trust Company and a Manager of the Milton Hershey School.

A successful entrepreneur who built the town of Hershey and the world-famous chocolate company that bore his name, Milton S. Hershey was a true philanthropist, devoting his fortune in perpetuity to the benefit of institutions that would improves lives nationwide and in central Pennsylvania. In 1935, he set aside 5,000 shares of stock to establish the M.S. Hershey Foundation, whose mission was to provide cultural and educational opportunities for local residents. The Foundation began by concentrating on educational efforts, providing material support to Derry Township schools. In 1938, the Foundation opened the Hershey Junior College, which offered two years of tuition-free college education to township residents and chocolate company employees.

In the 1960s, the Foundation collaborated with Pennsylvania State University, providing $50 million for the construction of a teaching hospital. Today, the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center crowns the school’s medical education component. In 1966, the Foundation established the Hershey Educational and Cultural Center. The Center today operates the Hershey Theater, the Hershey Museum, the Hershey Gardens, and the Hershey Archives.

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