Herb Kohl Philanthropies

Herb Kohl Philanthropies focuses its work on three key areas that are important to our community, region and state's well-being: Education, Economic Opportunity, and Quality of Life. These areas of interest have been central to the goals Herb Kohl helped his employees at Kohl's Food and Department Stores achieve, the issues he fought for in the U.S. Senate and the causes he has charitably supported throughout the years.

As a private grant-making foundation, Herb Kohl Philanthropies supports non-profit organizations in Wisconsin, especially those in the Milwaukee region working on addressing the most-pressing community problems.

Herb Kohl Philanthropies Invest in Education

Ben Franklin said, "Investing in education pays the best interest" and throughout Herb Kohl's unique career, these have been words to live by.

In 1989 he started the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation to recognize excellence in education with scholarships awarded to graduating high school seniors and grants to teachers and schools throughout Wisconsin. Since inception, the Herb Kohl Educational Foundation has awarded more than $20.9 million in grants and scholarships to more than 8,000 people. The program continues each year and has recently grown to also include Wisconsin principals and their schools in order to recognize the importance of school leadership.

Today, Herb Kohl Philanthropies works with education partners and institutions on improving student achievement, increasing educational opportunity and creating lasting change. We currently emphasize K-12 urban education and assist partners who share in that work.

Herb Kohl Philanthropies Promote Economic Opportunity

Improving the economic vitality of the region and state is critical to ensuring that everyone has a chance to live, work, play and thrive. That comes in many forms such as improving the health of people to supporting home ownership, and giving children the best start early in life. In addition, from financial literacy to entrepreneurship and innovation, to ensuring that basic needs are met, promoting economic opportunity for all guides our foundation's work.

Herb Kohl Philanthropies Support Wisconsin's Quality of Life

Wisconsin is our home. We enjoy great natural beauty, vibrant arts and cultural institutions, and live among amazing people from all walks of life. It's also home to the Wisconsin Idea intended to help solve problems and serve as the bridge between our centers of learning and government. We believe our assets must be protected and preserved for future generations, while new ideas and innovations need room to grow. We appreciate that the safety net that serves our most vulnerable populations requires our attention and value the educational, arts and cultural institutions that feed our minds and souls.

Perhaps most importantly, we put our hopes in our greatest assets -- our people, the residents who make up our neighborhoods and communities all across Wisconsin. Some are thriving while others are not. Where there is disparity, there is need. Where hope and the sense of community are lost, there is opportunity to help others. We look for ways to enhance the quality of life in Wisconsin, especially in neighborhoods and geographic areas that lack assets and opportunity. Much of our work in this area is activated on a statewide basis through Herb Kohl Charities small grants.