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.