Robert Heist on the Hershey Trust Company

A member of the Milton Hershey School Class of 1982, Robert Heist sits on the board of managers of his alma mater and on the board of directors of the Hershey Trust Company.

Founded in 1905 by the famed chocolate bar magnate, the Hershey Trust Company manages the affairs of several entities, including the Milton Hershey School Trust and the M.S. Hershey Foundation. The former entity owns a significant minority of the Hershey Company as well as 100 percent of Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, which consists of a theme park, a zoological park, two world-class hotels, a country club, and a campground. The latter foundation manages several cultural attractions established by Mr. Hershey and his wife for the residents of Derry Township and central Pennsylvania.

The legal documents that established these trusts provided that the proceeds of various Hershey enterprises were to be used for the benefit of the Milton Hershey School, a not-for-profit co-educational institution that currently serves around 1,800 students from kindergarten through high school. Through prudent management, the Trust Company has grown its assets from 486 acres of land and about $60 million of Hershey Company stock in 1905 to an estimated value today of more than $8 billion. The school served by this endowment has itself grown from an enrollment of 10 boys to its present size of nearly 2,000 students.

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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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