NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Charles E. Smith Co. (real estate)
JEWISH FUNDING AREAS: Education & Youth, Community, Israel, Religious
OVERVIEW: Robert Kogod and his wife Arlene move their philanthropy through the The Robert P. and Arlene R. Kogod Family Foundation, a low-profile vehicle that does not appear to accept unsolicited proposals. The couple are recent Giving Pledge signatories, and their giving seems to be ramping up. Supporting Jewish causes is a priority. The Kogods fund local Jewish causes in D.C., but some of their philanthropy also involves Israel and other parts of the U.S., such as California and New York.
BACKGROUND: Robert P. Kogod graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. Later, he joined the late Charles E. Smith and Robert H. Smith at the Charles E. Smith Companies. Charles Smith retired in 1967 and Kogod helped grow the business to several thousand employees and one of the largest commercial, residential and mixed-use landlords in the D.C. metro area. The company transformed many communities, perhaps most notably Crystal City in Arlington, VA.
EDUCATION & YOUTH: Kogod is a major patron of alma mater American University, home to the Kogod School of Business. He has also supported the university's Hillel, as well as outfits like Gesher Jewish Day School, American Friends of Hebrew University, and BBYO, "the leading pluralistic teen movement aspiring to involve more Jewish teens in more meaningful Jewish experiences." The Kogods also strongly support Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville, Maryland, founded by Kogod's father-in-law and Arlene's father. Arriving in the U.S. only speaking Yiddish, Charles E. Smith became leading figure in the local Jewish community. Smith's name bears the name of several D.C.-area institutions and still looms large, playing a role in this family's giving.
COMMUNITY: The Kogods via their foundation have supported outfits like ’nai B’rith International, Washington DC JCC, Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, and American Jewish Committee. While a number of these outfits are located in the Mid-Atlantic, others are not, including Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, Jewish Outreach Institute, and the The Shalom Hartman Institute, "a pluralistic research and leadership center at the forefront of Jewish thought and education in Israel and the Jewish Diaspora."
It's worth noting that the couple are avid art collectors and have supported arts and culture in the Jewish community, including the Contemporary Jewish Museum and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Kogods are also interested in supporting human services in the community, and again the late Charles E. Smith plays a role. The couple steadily supports Charles E. Smith Life Communities, which provides services for older adults and their families. The Kogods and Smiths gave a $12 million gift last decade to Hebrew Home of Greater Washington to honor Charles Smith.
ISRAEL: The Kogods also earmark funds to support outfits that work in/for Israel Grantees have included American Friends of IDC, Birthright Israel Foundation, Friends of Yemin Orde, PEF Israel Endowment Funds, Central Fund of Israel, and American Friends of the Israel Museum.
RELIGIOUS: Grantees have included Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, which has received especially strong support, as well as Congregation Shomrei Torah in Santa Rosa, CA, and Congregation B'nai Tzedek.
LOOKING FORWARD: The Kogods signed their Giving Pledge letter in early 2016. Part of their letter reads: "We recognize that we are privileged to have been born in the twentieth century in the United States of America under circumstances that allowed us to earn and accumulate wealth—and that with that privilege comes responsibility." The Kogods are in their 80s, so expect plenty more money to stream out the door in coming years.
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The Robert P. and Arlene R. Kogod Family Foundation does not provide a clear avenue of contact but below is an address:
The Robert P. and Arlene R. Kogod Family Foundation
2345 Crystal Dr., 11th Fl.
Arlington, VA 22202