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.


About Robert Heist

Robert Heist is an attorney who is licensed in both Illinois and Massachusetts, a business owner with a chain of law offices, and a financial professional who develops investment strategies for the $8 billion Hershey Trust Company. In addition to his extensive background in litigation and transactional matters, Robert Heist is dedicated to using his keen problem solving and active listening skills to build key relationships with corporate executives, legal professionals, staff members, and clients. Employed by the Hershey Trust’s Board of Directors since 2011, Robert Heist continues to own and operate R Connor & Associates, PC, a boutique law firm that he founded in 2001. Specializing in insurance, employment contracts, regulatory compliance, workers’ rights, and other business law issues, R Connor & Associates has established locations in Boston, Massachusetts, and Chicago and Lake Forest, Illinois. When he is not overseeing operations in these various law offices or directing investments for the Hershey Trust, Robert Heist also finds time to serve on the Board of Managers for the Milton Hershey School in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Mr. Heist holds a Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School in Chicago and an MBA from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. Currently residing in Lake Forest, he is active in several international and local charities including the Egypt Cancer Network and ASKHERE, Inc, a charitable organization that aids children who are socially and economically underprivileged throughout the general Lake Forest area. Outside of his duties working and volunteering his time, Robert Heist is an avid sports enthusiast who enjoys golf, hiking, tennis, and sailing. He is also an excellent cook with a refined interest in the culinary arts.
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