About Herb Kohl
A leader in the private sector and public service, Herb Kohl lived his life and values for the benefit of Milwaukee and Wisconsin.
Senator Kohl leaves behind an unmatched legacy. He grew up in the Sherman Park neighborhood of Milwaukee and after graduating from the University of Wisconsin, earning an MBA from Harvard and joining the Army Reserve, he followed in his father's footsteps and built with his brothers a chain of over 50 Kohl's grocery, then department, stores across the Midwest. When the Milwaukee Bucks were put up for sale and in danger of being bought and moved to another city, Herb stepped forward in 1985 and bought the team with the promise to its fans that they would never leave. When the time came to sell the team, he fulfilled that promise and donated $100 million to help in building a new arena for the community. Herb answered a call to public service in 1988 and ran for the United States Senate with a commitment to being "nobody's Senator but yours" and working across party lines for the people of the state he loved. He served 24 years in the Senate and following his retirement devoted his energies to continuing a lifetime commitment to philanthropic work.
Herb would often recall that both his parents taught he and his siblings that they would be measured far more by what they contributed than by what they had. In 1990, he started the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation, which has provided more than $34 million in grants and scholarships to Wisconsin students, teachers, and schools. After the UW struggled for years to fund a new sports facility to augment the aging Field House, Kohl stepped forward with a $25 million lead gift in 1995 for the basketball and hockey center that still bears his name. In 2016, he turned his attention back to policymaking, with gifts to the UW's La Follette School of Public Affairs to support evidence-based policy and governance research by faculty members and students and help expand the School's reach and impact. He created Learning Journeys that connect Wisconsin students to Washington D.C. through the gift of educational travel. He also, invested in early childhood through K12 education and the leaders and organizations that made a difference. In all of his charitable endeavors, Kohl always prioritized protecting and helping young people reach their fullest potential.
Throughout his life, Herb Kohl always put people first-from his employees and their families to his customers and countless charitable organizations and efforts. Herb Kohl Way isn't just the name of a street in front of the Fiserv Forum. The Herb Kohl Way perfectly sums up a legacy of humility, commitment, compromise, and kindness to countless people he worked with, served and helped along the way.
Those values now live on through his Foundation.
About Herb Kohl Philanthropies
Philanthropy has always been part of Herb Kohl's ethos. Herb Kohl Philanthropies (HKP) continues a legacy of giving that has followed Herb Kohl's truly inspiring career through retail business, professional sports and public service. Today, philanthropy encompasses his work and passion which especially focus on investing in education.
HKP is a private foundation that awards grants to non-profit organizations that are tax exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Funding is restricted to Wisconsin based organizations with an emphasis on those that benefit the people of the Greater Milwaukee area.
Herb Kohl Philanthropies operates as one entity supporting several initiatives, all aimed at improving education, economic opportunity and quality of life for the people of Milwaukee and Wisconsin. In addition to select projects, these initiatives include Herb Kohl Charities, Herb Kohl Educational Foundation, and Learning Journeys.